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News | Feb. 9, 2022

Vermont Guard conducts medical readiness exercise in Senegal

By 1st Lt. Nathan Rivard Joint Force Headquarters - Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Soldiers and Airmen of the Vermont National Guard will participate in a medical readiness exercise in Senegal as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.

Fifteen Vermont Guard medical professionals — providers, public health nurses, combat medics, biomedical technicians and command and control staff — travel to Saint Louis, Senegal, for the exercise, which lasts almost two weeks in February. 

“The Vermont National Guard continues building medical readiness within our force by working with our Senegalese partners,” said Lt. Col. Chris Gookin, deputy state surgeon, Vermont National Guard. “This partnership leverages the best out of all of us and increases all of our abilities to perform medical care.”

The Vermont Guardsmen will perform medical procedures, repair medical equipment and build skills with Senegalese military medical and dental clinics and civilian regional clinics and hospitals.

The trip is the fifth medical readiness exercise the Vermont National Guard has performed with Senegal since 2018.

“This continued training with Senegal through our state partnership gives both of us more experienced medical professionals,” said Gookin. “This skill-building exchange continues to cultivate and advance the medical expertise within the Vermont National Guard, which in turn gives us more capable medical professionals in local hospitals.”

Through the State Partnership Program (SPP), Vermont is paired with Senegal, North Macedonia and Austria. Vermont has partnered with Senegal since 2008 and North Macedonia since 1993. The Office of the Secretary of Defense announced the partnership with Austria in 2021.

The SPP is an innovative, cost-effective security cooperation program that connects the National Guard and militaries of partner nations around the world.