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Partner nations’ mortuary affairs skills put to test in live exercise

By Lance Cpl. Zach Altemus | | June 12, 2011

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Jordance Stanotkovski, Macedonian Quick Response Force policeman, assists his fellow Macedonian policeman with the processing of simulated human remains, June 12. The Marines from Personnel and Retrieval Processing Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, out of Smyrna, Ga. and Anacostia, Washington D.C., came to Macedonia for 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe to teach foreign military services how the U.S. military conducts mortuary affairs. MEDCEUR is an annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise and is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment for U.S. and partner nations. The countries participating in this year’s MEDCEUR are Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and Norway

Jordance Stanotkovski, Macedonian Quick Response Force policeman, assists his fellow Macedonian policeman with the processing of simulated human remains, June 12. The Marines from Personnel and Retrieval Processing Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, out of Smyrna, Ga. and Anacostia, Washington D.C., came to Macedonia for 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe to teach foreign military services how the U.S. military conducts mortuary affairs. MEDCEUR is an annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise and is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment for U.S. and partner nations. The countries participating in this year’s MEDCEUR are Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and Norway (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph Altemus)


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Staff Sgt. Vetna Spaseska, Macedonian armed forces nurse, plays the role of “clean hands” and writes down the details of the simulated human remains here, June 12. Whoever played the role of “dirty hands” assessed the body closely and called out the details to the clean hands. The Marines from Personnel and Retrieval Processing Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, out of Smyrna, Ga. and Anacostia, Washington D.C., came to Macedonia for 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe to teach foreign military services how the U.S. military conducts mortuary affairs. MEDCEUR is an annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise and is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment for U.S. and partner nations. The countries participating in this year’s MEDCEUR are Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and Norway. ::r::::n::::r::::n::::r::::n::

Staff Sgt. Vetna Spaseska, Macedonian armed forces nurse, plays the role of “clean hands” and writes down the details of the simulated human remains here, June 12. Whoever played the role of “dirty hands” assessed the body closely and called out the details to the clean hands. The Marines from Personnel and Retrieval Processing Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, out of Smyrna, Ga. and Anacostia, Washington D.C., came to Macedonia for 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe to teach foreign military services how the U.S. military conducts mortuary affairs. MEDCEUR is an annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored regional and multilateral exercise and is designed to provide medical training and operational experience in a deployed environment for U.S. and partner nations. The countries participating in this year’s MEDCEUR are Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and Norway. ::r::::n::::r::::n::::r::::n:: (Photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph Altemus)


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CAMP PEPELISHTE, Macedonia -- Partner nations put everything they learned about mortuary affairs from Personnel Retrieval and Processing Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, to the test in a hands-on training event as part of 2011 Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe, June 12.

The PRP team from Smyrna, Ga., and Washington, D.C., have been teaching partner nations the U.S. military’s mortuary affairs processes for the past three days.

The Macedonian team, comprised of armed forces members and policemen, worked together inside a morgue where two litters were set up with human remains pouches.

They started working slow, but as the ambulance rolled up with more simulated bodies, they fell into a rhythm.

When an ambulance would arrive, they all gathered quickly outside to get the simulated body out and transfer it into the morgue in a timely fashion.

They communicated well to drop whatever they were doing and attend to the ambulance with haste and organization.

“The training teaches us how to connect with other forces and manage a crisis,” said Sgt. Vesna Kisuovska, Macedonian armed forces medical technician. “It’s good to see how other forces do that.”

Once inside the morgue, the team would start to process the simulated body by removing and noting all personal items and assessing the remains carefully as the PRP Marines observed their actions.

“I think well-trained people managed the training,” she said. “They were excellent because they involved actual [hands-on] training [during their presentations], not just talking.”

As the afternoon came around they received a rush of multiple, simulated bodies.

“I was learning how to handle dead bodies and how the organizational structure should be organized in a time of crisis, ” said Staff Sgt. Svetlana Jovevska, central medical supply commander in the Macedonian armed forces.

We definitely learned something because we don’t really have this kind of job, said Staff Sgt. Vesna Spaseska, a nurse in the Macedonian armed forces. We can show all soldiers how to react when dealing with dead bodies. The training was very complete and very well presented.

Jordance Stanotkovski, a policeman with the Macedonian Quick Response Force, said through a translator, “It was well organized, everything went well. I learned new things including how to work with dead bodies.”

Cpl. Eric Ahn, a PRP specialist, assessed the students and said they were very cooperative and helpful to each other.

“It was great to see that they retained the knowledge earlier and how students from earlier classes were teaching other students who had missed the classes, how to process the bodies,” Ahn said.