Mass Medical Emergency Exercise in Basra
Spc. Robert Gage, 912th Forward Surgical Team, and Spc. Kenneth Vandenberg, 297th Area Support Medical Company, treat a patient during a large-scale mass medical emergency exercise conducted on Contingency Operating Base Basra July 22, 2011.

BASRA, Iraq (Army News Service, July 29, 2011) -- In the wake of attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, personnel on Contingency Operating Base Basra joined together during a mock attack to help prepare themselves for a possible worst-case scenario.

This quarterly mass medical emergency event simulated an indirect fire attack and gauged the effectiveness of the first responders and the base medical sections.

"One of the things we really concentrated on during this scenario is encompassing multiple personnel, situations and locations," said Capt. Erik D. Sateren, the base defense operations center and mass-casualty training officer in charge for the 36th Infantry Division.

Almost anybody can tell you that having a plan to get injured people to a medical facility is common sense, but actually having that plan rehearsed over and over again never crosses their minds, he added.

The day started with a simulated call announcing that the ammunition depot and the operating room at the Troop Medical Clinic were "hit" with indirect fire, which forced the medical unit to set up a makeshift operating room for any incoming patients.

Ten minutes later the base was once again "attacked" with indirect fire, this time in the living areas of Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Teams, 1st Cavalry Division.

A number of Soldiers were "wounded" during the mock attack and required treatment, testing the ability of not only the medics located in the living area but also fellow Soldiers who happened to stumble across them.

"This training will give us a realistic response should an event like this actually occur," said Staff Sgt. Carlton Moore, a medic for the Texas-based cavalry unit, who as a battalion medic evaluated the first responders on the scene.

Most of the personnel living on Camp Delta are first-time deployers and this training will help their unit gauge their reactions, he added.

From Delta, a number of "patients" were transported to the troop medical clinic, or TMC, where the medical personnel from the 297th Area Support Medical Company and the 912th Forward Surgical Team treated their injuries and transported them to the flight line for evacuation to a treatment facility better suited to handle their needs.

We want to make sure that every time we do this sort of training we learn from our mistakes, said Sateren.

"We try and encompass every aspect at every level," he added, "to make sure what is done is very realistic and see what we have as far as our abilities to handle that situation."

Page last updated Mon August 1st, 2011 at 07:18