Home' Army News : July 27th 2017 Contents 5
July 27, 2017
EXERCISE Talisman Sabre provid-
ed the ideal training environment for
a team of dentists, some new to the
Army, who deployed with the 2GHB
Role 2 (E) Hospital at SWBTA.
Dentists are qualified to work in a
civilian practice when they join Army,
but they still need two years under super-
vision to meet ADF standards.
Senior Dental Officer Maj Mike
Lines, of 2GHB, said the dentists were
already well-trained to a high standard.
“They make my job easy,” he said.
“It’s rewarding because I can already
trust these guys at the professional level.”
The role of the 33 Dental Coy team
of four dentists and four dental assis-
tants during Talisman Sabre was to attend
to dental casualties at the Role 2 (E)
Hospital, fix their problems and return
them to the fight as quickly as possible.
Maj Lines said the most common
occurrence during an exercise was for
patients to have traumatic issues such as
broken teeth or painful gums.
“Occasionally we get inflamed wis-
dom teeth, which can lead to us needing
to perform advanced procedures such as
an extraction,” he said.
“In scenarios such as facial battle-
field injuries, dentists will be involved
in trauma care with the surgeons to pro-
vide advice on facial anatomy, bearing in
mind our role in the Role 2 (E) Hospital
is damage control, not definitive surgery.
Maj Lines said Talisman Sabre
allowed the dental unit to deploy in a
realistic training scenario to test its per-
sonnel and equipment.
“There’s generally more work and
BUILDING the Role 2 (E) Hospital
during Exercise Talisman Sabre was
an exciting new experience for an
Army nursing officer on her first major
Lt Olivia Catt, of 2GHB, said she
was impressed with the speed the bat-
talion’s personnel were able to erect the
Weatherhaven shelters to build a hospital
and enable full medical care.
“During the setup it was great to be a
part of the team as well as meet people
from our base who I don’t normally see
because we work in different areas,” she
said. “It was good because we were able
to learn what each other did and we also
saw how each medical department was
laid out as the structure developed.
“The build of the hospital is logical
and obviously the best way to care for
casualties as they come in.”
Lt Catt said she was not sure of what
to expect in her new career, but it has sur-
prised her in a good way.
“I was a bit nervous of the unknown
but I’m enjoying the job,” she said.
“It was a challenge at first to adapt to
having a nursing role combined with my
all corps skills.
“I can now see how they go hand-in-
hand, even in a health facility, and how
important it is.”
Lt Catt said her role was to attend
to the patients in the wards during their
recovery after they had received treat-
ment from the primary care health team
or the emergency team.
“Our goal is for the patients to be only
with us for 72 hours at the most but we
do shifts to provide 24-hour monitoring
while they are here,” she said.
“If they need more advanced or long-
term care they would be evacuated to a
Role 3 facility such as the Rockhampton
“I think the biggest challenge would
be if the wards were at full capacity.
“We would need to continue the flow
of full patient care as we would need to
have beds available for the worst-case
scenarios so we would have to have good
Lt Catt said Exercise Talisman Sabre
was a fantastic training environment.
Building a healthy army
“What I love most about Army is the
team environment,” she said.
“No one sits around doing nothing –
everyone gets in to get the job done.
“It’s the people that make it fun.”
As a medical technician, Pte Tony
Schmidt, of 2GHB, also works in the
wards of the Role 2 (E) Hospital.
Before an exercise, one of his roles
in the barracks is to ensure that the ward
stores and equipment for the only ADF
deployable hospital are always ready.
“Our other general tasks include sup-
porting Army elements and the wider
ADF on health support tasks,” he said.
“For Talisman Sabre my job was in
the ward looking after real-time patients
with injuries or minor ailments, which
is exciting because we spent a few days
building the hospital from scratch.
“To be inside my ward and see the
30-bed capability with an isolation area
I’ve helped build and be looking after
troops to get them back into the fight is
Pte Schmidt is a former policeman
and has been with Army for about five
years, but was still excited to mentor
newer medics on a major exercise.
“I get a wonderful sense of achieve-
ment from knowing when we are build-
ing the hospital we will be able to take
the best care of our patients,” he said.
“During Talisman Sabre we were busy
with the scenario-based training; from
the resuscitation team attending to a dete-
riorating patient to a mass casualty event
which combined with the general clinical
training we did within our own depart-
ments or whole-of-hospital activities.
“We were given opportunities to
draw on all our resources including the
surgeons, anaesthetists and the medical
officers who have joined us from their
civilian jobs to give us their support and
Pte Schmidt said an Army medic
needed a solid professional attitude
towards their work combined with com-
passion and a willingness to be ready for
“If medics are working alone,
attached to a unit, it’s just them and a
phone or a radio linking them to a medi-
cal officer or nursing officer,” he said.
“The medic needs to be able to think
on their feet and be across their all corps
Fast life in the wards
duties out field compared to the barracks,
but in terms of pure dentistry challenges,
we have the issue of lacking specialist
advice,” he said.
“A suspicious looking lesion inside
the mouth may be an oral cancer and
would need to be referred, but we can’t
do that out field, so we would flag it for
attention at a later time.”
Capt Steve Cecatto, of 2GHB, was
sponsored by Army for three years at uni-
versity and has been a dental officer for
about two years.
He said the best thing about being an
Army dentist was the difference in the
role compared to a civilian dentist.
“Not only do I get to practise clinical
skills, I also do activities like physical
training and shooting,” Capt Cecatto said.
“Talisman Sabre gave us an opportu-
nity to test our deployable dental equip-
ment in a field environment.
Capt Cecatto said although the unit
could deploy by itself, deploying with
the hospital meant there were more
“Dentists can be used in different
roles, such as stretcher bearers, or we
may need to provide advice in a mass
casualty event,” he said.
“It can also be a challenge maintain-
ing our ruggedised dental equipment in
the field because it’s not used all the time
and then we take it into a dusty envi-
ronment where we need to have a clean
Ideal training for junior dentists
Capt Steve Ceccato
conducts a dental check-
up on a patient in the
field hospital facility.
Lt Olivia Catt and Pte Tony Schmidt prepare medical equipment for use in
the field hospital facility.
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