Ghana soldiers

Active Guard Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Solomon Mensah, a member of Medical Readiness Training Exercise 16-2 command and control team and pay agent from the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) unit at Fort Gillem, Ga., poses with 1st Lt. Frank Goka, a mobilized Army Reserve Soldier assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, participated in MEDRETE 16-2, from Feb. 3-26, at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana. Both Mensah and Goka are originally from Ghana. Mensah and Goka were essential to MEDRETE 16-2 with helping the U.S. medical team establish relationships amongst the Ghanaian Defense Force and medical professionals at the 37 Military Hospital.

ACCRA, Ghana — A mobilized Army Reserve soldier along with an Active Guard Reserve soldier returned to their Ghanaian roots during a three-week medical training exercise in Ghana recently.

First Lt. Frank Goka, a mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Soldier assigned to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, as a nurse case manager, participated in the exercise and worked as a critical care nurse for the intensive care burn unit.

Sgt. 1st Class Solomon Mensah, an Active Guard Reserve Soldier from the 3rd Medical Command unit at Fort Gillem, Ga., participated and served as a paying agent.

“I’m proud of being apart of this mission,” said Goka. Prior to moving to the U.S. from Ghana in 2004, Goka was trained as a nurse and worked at the 37th Military Hospital for eight years.

“Coming back to my old fold is a real pleasure,” he said. “The pleasure was reciprocated by the Ghanaian folks here. They were so happy seeing me back home, and coming to partner with them.”

Goka was instrumental in working alongside Ghanaian nurses, treating a 27-year-old patient who suffered third degree burns covering 60 percent body surface.

“We shared a whole lot of ideas with Ghanaian medical professionals,” said Goka. “The main objective of this exercise was to build capacity and strengthen the already-existing relationship between the U.S. and Ghanaian Forces, and Ghana as a whole,” he said.

When asked about his background, with pride Goka stated his family was apart of the Ewe tribe.

“I’m in the U.S. Army now, but it’s worth tracing my roots in knowing where I come from,” said Goka. “We have a lot of cultural values that we’re proud of.”

The Ewe tribe, known for their cultural prowess, are also known for their version of the kente cloth, a colorful cloth woven with intricate designs and patterns.

According to Goka, families from the Ewe tribe take pride in their drumming, dancing, fishing, and farming techniques as well.

Mensah stated he was originally from Keta, located in the Volta region of Ghana.

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