FORT GORDON, Ga., (Army News Service, July 19, 2010) -- As the patient lies bloodied on the stretcher, he grimaces with pain. With lacerations to his head and neck, it's clear that he is not in great condition -- he needs to be moved off the battlefield.

Aca,!A"Let's get him strapped up,Aca,!A? says Spc. Sawyer A. Smith, a medic with the 936th Forward Surgical Team from Paducah, Ky.

Aca,!A"Ready for movement!Aca,!A? shouts Spc. Katy J. West moments later, and the team loads the casualty onto a medical transport vehicle.

With the patient headed for further treatment, medics of the FST stand by for the next call.

The 936th and units like it are participating in 2010Aca,!a,,cs Global Medic exercise July 10-23. The annual exercise is held simultaneously at Fort Gordon and Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., where nearly 3,000 servicemembers participate nation-wide.

At Fort Gordon, approximately 1,000 Army Reserve, Army National Guard and Air Force Reserve servicemembers are honing their skills in mass casualty, battle trauma and combat stress treatment, said Col. Sheila Sidberry, the commander of the 3rd Medical Training Brigade and Global Medic at Fort Gordon.

Aca,!A"We need to know how to train and work together,Aca,!A? Sidberry said, Aca,!A"because when we go overseas, weAca,!a,,cll be doing that.Aca,!A?

Sidberry explained that in spite of the summer heat and nearly daily thunderstorms, the exercise will implement approximately 600 individual events, such as a mock improvised explosive device blast, in order to keep the training high-paced and realistic.

Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre using Global Medic as a culminating event to use all of the skills Army Reserve Soldiers learn,Aca,!A? she said.

Living and working in a field environment, Sidberry estimated that about half of the exercise participants were medical Soldiers, while the rest provided support services such as food, electrical generators and shower and laundry facilities.

Aca,!A"This is great training,Aca,!A? said Staff Sgt. Randall A. Sutton, a medic and the training noncommissioned officer in charge for the 936th FST. Aca,!A"We have a young team, and this provides field experience.Aca,!A?

Global medic is particularly relevant to the 936th FST, a 20-man team which already has orders to deploy to Afghanistan. As a forward surgical team, this specialized unit is the go-between -- and sometimes the difference between life and death -- for injured Soldiers on the battlefield, to larger combat hospitals where more intensive care can be given.

In its deployed capacity, the FST attaches to a brigade-level combat unit, and can set up its improvised field hospital -- complete with a triage, operating room and an intensive care unit -- with merely three hours of notice, explained Maj. Mark W. Dunavan, commander of the 936th.

The unique, mobile, self-supporting unit is also responsible for its own supplies and equipment.

Aca,!A"We do with 20 people what most companies do with 120,Aca,!A? Dunavan, a nurse anesthetist, said.

This will be the second deployment for the unit, and fourth for Dunavan.

Aca,!A"I feel a lot more prepared than before,Aca,!A? Dunavan said. Aca,!A"The medical exercises are becoming much more realistic and the trainers are more prepared.Aca,!A?

For example, during Global Medic, many volunteer Aca,!A"casualtiesAca,!A? are made up in life-like makeup called moulage, so their Aca,!A"woundsAca,!A? actually resemble those on the battlefield. Also, Dunavan explained, the units practice the medical rules of engagement, treating enemy and civilian casualties as well as military working animals, fully searching each for weapons before treatment.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm excited for the medical experience and the things IAca,!a,,cll be able to do,Aca,!A? West said of the unitAca,!a,,cs upcoming deployment.

West, a Benton, Ky., native and nurse in her civilian job, said sheAca,!a,,cd enjoyed the Global Medic experience.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs been great so far,Aca,!A? she said.

Aca,!A"I feel good going into this deployment,Aca,!A? agreed Randall, of Augusta, Ga.

Randall said that during his deployment to Iraq, he was attached to a ground ambulance company, but being part of a forward surgical team is Aca,!A"what I joined the Army Reserve for.Aca,!A?

Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz traveled to Fort Gordon July 17 to observe training and get feedback from the troops. He explained that Soldiers tell him they donAca,!a,,ct want their time wasted during training Aca,!"- they want it to be relevant and fulfilling.

Aca,!A"The real reason for doing things like Global Medic, is because thatAca,!a,,cs the way we operate on the battlefield Aca,!A| and you better learn how to do it before you get there,Aca,!A? said Stultz.

Stultz commended the training, and said that servicemembers today are more educated and of higher-caliber than ever before. He said that after speaking with Soldiers, he learned that many enjoyed being there because of the quality of the training.

Aca,!A"Even though itAca,!a,,cs hot, even though itAca,!a,,cs sweaty, itAca,!a,,cs realistic,Aca,!A? Stultz said.

Global Medic is both a combined and joint venture, with two British medical soldiers taking part in activities at Fort Gordon. The Army Reserve provides more than two-thirds of the Army's medical brigades, dental companies, and combat support hospitals and nearly half of the Army's medical units.

The annual exercise will up the ante in 2011 with planned combat units adding to the event.

Page last updated Mon July 19th, 2010 at 18:14