Forces brought together in time of need

21 Jul 2003 | Sgt. Bradly Shaver

Djibouti hospital physicians, surgeons and staff were recognized here July 9, for saving the lives of nine Marines and sailors.

According to Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, commanding general Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, the staff distinguished themselves by responding to a mass casualty accident involving nine American service members who were injured June 22. The Marines and sailors were participating in a Supporting Arms Training Exercise (SATEX) at Godoria Range, about 60 miles north of Camp Lemonier.

The staff's actions and cooperation with CJTF-HOA personnel resulted in the effective recovery and care of the injured personnel. Their efforts ensured all necessary medical treatment was given, and resulted in the successful resuscitation, stabilization and evacuation of those injured.

Robeson presented a certificate of achievement to French Gen. Jean Charles Nied, director of health services French Forces Djibouti, who accepted on behalf of "Hospitalier de Bouffard" (Central Hospital Armies at Bouffard, Djibouti).

Robeson said he wanted everyone to know of his gratitude to Gen. Nied and Gen. Guy Durand, commander of Bouffard hospital, as well as the physicians, surgeons and professional medical staff of the Hospitalier de Bouffard for saving the Marines and sailor's lives after the accident.

Speaking to members of the hospital, Robeson said "your rapid response and precise care to the severely injured resulted in saving at least three lives and preserved the health of nine others.

"The (service members) are now back home, recovering and enjoying their families," he said. "They can now look forward to a future that you have secured. They may never know what you all have done, but we know. We also know that you gave them your great skill, your finest professionalism and your so very unique French compassion. For this, and for your great deeds, we are deeply grateful."

Nied expressed how France holds the United States in great esteem and close to its heart. "Understand that we can both contribute and work together toward the evolution of society."

Nied gave the Symbol of the Health Service to CJTF-HOA, because he said, it is in the hearts of Americans to provide aid to all those in need.

"There is nothing more precious to me than the stewardship of the lives of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in this combined joint task force," said Robeson. "The French stepped up in a time of need, when we did not have a level three medical capability. If they had not stepped up, three of our members of CJTF-HOA would have died. They not only saved the lives of three CJTF-HOA staff, but they stabilized and significantly improved the condition of six others. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of them.

"Having an event like tonight also solidifies our relationship," said Robeson, "because as much as I hope we don't have any more casualties, when and if we do, we'll need their help again. They stood beside us in the American Revolution, they stood beside us the night of June 22nd, and I'm confident they will stand beside us if we have further casualties in this Global War on Terrorism."

Headquarters Marine Corps