The Fort Campbell Courier

Mass casualty exercise trains medics for worst

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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008 12:00 am

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq - Soldiers of 626th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted a mass casualty exercise at the Camp Striker dining facility June 17.

A simulated mortar attack struck the dining facility at approximately 3 p.m. Medical personnel brought Soldiers to the aid station for proper care and evacuation. The simulated injuries ranged from minor lacerations to traumatic head wounds.

"This was a worst case scenario exercise," said Pfc. Aaron Betts, a native of Houston, Texas, and truck driver for Company A, 626th BSB. "[The exercise] trained on how to properly recover and treat injured personnel in case of a mortar attack."

This was the first exercise of the kind conducted by Rakkasan Soldiers since taking command of the Troop Medical Center.

"We just took over the TMC a month-and-a-half ago, and it is beneficial to practice the evacuation, transport and treatment procedures in the instance that something like this happens," said 1st Lt. Christopher Johnson, Co. C, 626th BSB nurse.

"Medical treatment is going to be performed anywhere, it doesn't matter if it is on the roof of a building or in a dumpster, we can get it done," said Johnson a Thomson, Ga., native. "Where the problem comes in is [knowing] how you are going to get patients to you, how you are going to get patients stabilized once you get them to the hospital, where you will get supplies and, of course, the communications."

The participating Soldiers performed well, successfully completing each task presented during the exercise. If a mass casualty situation actually occurs, the training will help things run smoothly, said Spc. Amanda Furraro, a Dover, Del., native and Co. C, 626th BSB medical lab technician.

Fortunately, the brigade has not needed to execute mass casualty procedures outside of the training scenario. However, the exercise is valuable training for demanding situations.

"I was stationed out in Mahmudiyah back in March when they had the escalation occurring all over the country," Johnson said. "Over a three day period of time, we took in 21 casualties - none of which were U.S. forces. We never reached the mass casualty level, but it was an intense time."

At least three more exercises are planned for Rakkasan Soldiers while deployed.

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