Medical training supports brigade's "Fight Tonight" readiness
October 3, 2013
While the sun is blazing down and raising the temperature, a voice cries "Help!" Soon, medics gather around the Soldier and provide immediate medical treatment. They are the 210th Fires Brigade's medics conducting medical training.
Health care specialists from 210th Fires Bde., 2nd Infantry Division, conducted casualty evacuation operations both on ground and in the air during the Task Force Wilson exercise on Camps Casey and Stanley Aug. 21. The exercise is a four-day event to train and evaluate Soldiers performing proper medical care.
Medics conducted ground casualty evacuation by ambulance and casualty exchange with 65th Medical Brigade in the morning and air casualty evacuation using UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters in the afternoon.
Soldiers were challenged with real-life scenarios providing immediate medical treatment and evacuating them as fast as possible for higher level treatment by ground and in the air.
Since most medics with the field artillery don't get the chance to train with the air support, this exercise was a good opportunity for them to experience helicopter evacuation procedure, along with learning how to work with the equipment and crew.
"Soldiers can learn how to load the patient and take commands from the pilots and chiefs in the helicopter," said Staff Sgt. Hector Maldonado, from Puerto Rico, the 210th Fires Bde. Combined Troop Aid Station noncommissioned officer in charge. "They can learn the different roles of everybody that are involved in a whole medical operation."
According to Capt. Adhana McCarthy, from Long Beach, Calif., the 210th Fires Bde. physician assistant, this exercise was more beneficial than other medical training because they were able to focus entirely on medical missions.
"A lot of times we go out to the field training, we support other missions, and we can only do a little bit of our medical tasks," said McCarthy. "This time, we are able to focus on specific medical tasks. It's all medical all the time."
The training was based on real-life scenarios; some Soldiers had some difficulties with that.
"The hardest part was basically remembering everything we were taught, and actually putting it into real life situations," said Pfc. Joseph Johnson, from Boston, Mass., a health care specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Bde.
On the other hand, Spc. Andrew Caywood, from Los Angeles, Calif., a health care specialist assigned to HHB, 1st Bn., 38th FA Regt., 210th Fires Bde, said the hands-on training made the exercise more enjoyable because that is the best way to get better at his job.
"Through this training, I am learning my own limitations, the limitations of my teammates, battle buddies and what we are good at," said Caywood. "We try to know each other's strengths and weaknesses, so we can work as a team."
Throughout the exercise, the medics also trained to evacuate patients in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear environments, and decontamination.
"This exercise aims for combining all assets to respond to different types of medical situations and emergencies: MASCAL [a larger group of casualties to evaluate injuries], evacuation on ground, evacuation in air, and also medical treatment and decontamination if it is an NBC environment," said Maldonado.
McCarthy believes this training truly prepares the medics to support the brigade.
"Soldiers expect medics to be able to perform for them," said McCarthy. "This is the training that gives them that ability, to know how to make those medical decisions on the battlefield," she added.
By training for exercise Task Force Wilson, the medics of 210th Fires Brigade increase their combat readiness to "Fight Tonight."