ARCTIC CARE 2017 took place from March 28 through April 6 with temporary clinics in the City of Kodiak and surrounding villages providing various medical and veterinary services to underserved community members at no cost. The event was a joint effort sponsored by the Office of Secretary of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT), led by the Air Force Reserve Command, and in partnership with the Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA).
The exercise provided training opportunities for U.S. military and Canadian Health service members to prepare for worldwide deployment while supporting the medical needs of Kodiak’s communities.
“Training is a very important mission here,” said Navy Reservist Lt. Cmdr. Donna Meador, Officer in Charge of the Kodiak Clinic. “We are training with other service members to include Army, Air Force, and Navy. I’m really impressed with the teamwork. Everybody has come together, and it’s like we’ve been working together for years and years, everybody jumped right in,”
Efficient teamwork is a crucial element of all military operations; ARCTIC CARE 2017 was treated as a real-time operation with a very short turnaround for setting up a variety of clinics.
Another important aspect of this exercise was setting up and using the medical equipment that all the services deploy with.
“One of the biggest benefits is for our enlisted and officers to be able to put their hands on the equipment that we are going to use when we are deployed,” said Navy Reservist Cmdr. Darryl Simms, Subject Matter Expert for dental services at ARCTIC CARE 2017. “They have to break it down and set it up. Also, they have to use equipment that they normally don’t use.”
Medical and veterinary services were provided in Ouzinkie, Port Lions, Old Harbor, Akhiok and the City of Kodiak. Teams were unable to provide services in Larsen Bay and Karluk due to inclement weather conditions. Among the medical screenings were optometry, dentistry, physical therapy, and veterinary services. A pharmacy was available, as well as the on-site production of eyeglass prescriptions.