Navy Cmdr. Joseph E. Strauss, son of JoAnn C. and Paul J. Strauss of Nesquehoning, recently participated in the system evaluation of a Chemically Hardened Expeditionary Medical Facility (CH EMF) at Naval Weapons Station Cheatham Annex, Williamsburg, Va.

Strauss along with other active duty and Navy Reservists recently completed testing the integration of a collective protection system. With a collective protection system, an Expeditionary Medical Facility is protected against chemical, biological and radiological exposure. CH EMFs provide medical personnel the capability to operate without having to be fully outfitted in individual protective or mission oriented protective posture gear.

During the evaluation phase, medical personnel were enclosed within the facility for 72 hours. Simulated patient scenarios were conducted to provide a realistic feeling to the event.

"This evolution was significant on a number of levels, " said William Hartmann, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Expeditionary Medical Logistics Program manager. "The Navy is considering all aspects of collective protection for field hospitals. This month, we are evaluating the system under conditions similar to what may be expected in an operational environment. "

The four acre site played host to practically every medical casualty situation that could be encountered by operational facilities in real-world situations.

"Collaboration of the elements to make this a successful collective protection system evaluation was a tremendous undertaking, " said Capt. Martin D. McCue, commanding officer, Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command, Cheatham Annex, Williamsburg, Va. "Expeditionary Medical Facilities from prepositioned storage sites were brought here during Operation TRIDENT ARCH, an evolution in which EMFs are rotated from ashore and afloat locations to upgrade and retrofit as a part of their life cycle management. "

Expeditionary medical facilities are globally positioned to support combat operations worldwide. Self-supportive EMFs assure the ability of medical personnel to provide world-class medical care to wounded warriors in their most vital time of need. Results from the evaluation will be used to support a formal CH EMF fielding decision by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense.

Strauss is a 1989 graduate of Panther Valley High School of Lansford. He is a 1993 graduate of St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pa. with a BS degree.

For more information about this story contact Naval Medical Logistics Command at julius. evans@med. navy. mil