By: Capt MacKenzie Margroum
U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa
Antakya, Türkiye – United States Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen constructed and organized a 100-bed emergency hospital in less than one week, as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s continuous commitment to assist survivors of the catastrophic earthquakes in Türkiye.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe, in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) facilitated the construction of the field hospital at the request of the government of Türkiye, with assistance from the 633d Surgical Operations Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Medical Installation Support Team (MIST).
“As soon as we received the request for a field hospital our team got to work and was able to complete its construction and set-up in less than a week,” said Brig. Gen Andrew Priddy, commanding general, TF 61/2. “The field hospital is just another example of how we are committed to helping our Turkish allies. I could not be prouder of this team.”
U.S. Marines, assigned to U.S. Sixth Fleet’s Task Force 61/2, worked side-by-side with the Ministry of Health through USAID to ensure the hospital was established and operational before departing Serinyol.
“Being able to help the Turkish people was an amazing honor but being so well received and treated with kindness humbled me greatly,” said 1st Lt. Rylie Zuelch, a MIST team leader. “It was a truly eye-opening experience, and I learned a lot. I’m, just glad I was able to help.”
The emergency field hospital is equipped with an emergency room, two operating rooms, and an intensive care unit. Along with the field hospital’s emergency care it’s capable of providing pediatric care.
The Marines of TF 61/2, Airmen from 39th Air Base Wing, and Airmen from the 633d Surgical Operations Squadron, worked day and night to set up the hospital in less than five days, a task that was projected to take seven days. The hospital will be officially turned over to Turkish authorities on Mar. 7.
TF 61/2, under operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Sixth Fleet, is responding to the deadly 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes that devastated southeastern and central Türkiye on Feb. 6. Hours after the earthquake, U.S. Marines and Sailors established a forward crisis response operations center at Incirlik Air Base, Türkiye, in close coordination with U.S. interagency partners and Turkish officials.