An agreement signed last week between the IDF Medical Corps and the American Air Force Medical Department will enable both sides to work more closely together, sharing and developing techniques and technologies that will save lives on the battlefield and on humanitarian rescue missions.
At the conclusion of a week long visit in Israel by U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General (Dr.) Thomas W. Travis’s, during which he was introduced to the diverse activities of the IDF Medical Corps and the Israeli Air Force, a Terms of Reference (TOR) agreement was signed between the two parties. The agreement lays the foundation for deep and ongoing cooperation between the U.S. Air force and the IDF in areas of aviation medicine, mental health, academics and research.
At a briefing last Thursday, IDF Chief Medical Officer Brig. Gen. (Prof.) Yitzhak Kreiss spoke about his personal experience in working with U.S. medical forces. “We share knowledge and experience in terms of humanitarian missions and disaster management. I commanded the IDF’s Haiti field hospital in 2010. When the US Navy ship deployed there, they became a major asset in the area,” he said.
“We evacuated patients to the U.S. ship,” Gen. Kreiss added, noting it was just one example of cooperation between the two militaries. “We have worked together, side by side, in humanitarian missions across the world.”
The two sides bring their own unique advantages to the table in the agreement. “Americans have the advantage of size and scale,” said Brig. Gen. Kreiss. “They do the heaviest scientific work in trying to prove that a technology is evidence-based and cost-effective, and can be implemented on the battlefield. The Israeli advantage is that we are a relatively small medical corps, which is deployed 24/7 at hundreds of points, with a paramedic deployed in each battalion. If you want to test a technology, we do it relatively simply. While the U.S. forces are often first to develop new technologies, what we can give back is quick deployment of those technologies. The Americans learn from and use the knowledge that we have gained.”
“In my 25 years of experience in the IDF Medical Corps, the collaboration between us and the U.S. military is the deepest it has ever been,” Brig. Gen. Kreiss said. “Our collaboration is based on true partnership, friendship, and most importantly, on shared values.”