Soldiers in Ukraine build battlefield medic skills alongside NATO allies, partners
By Sgt. Alexander RectorJanuary 17, 2018
YAVORIV, Ukraine -- Medics assigned to the Joint Multinational Training Group -- Ukraine (JMTG-U) honed their life-saving skills while participating a massive casualty , or MASCAL, exercise, here, Jan. 12.
The exercise was implemented and organized by the training group Medical Section as a way to test Soldiers' capabilities and identify any weaknesses or deficiencies.
"We conduct MASCAL exercises to test our abilities while being medically overwhelmed," said Staff Sgt. Dennis Sincebaugh, the Medical Section platoon sergeant. "We also use them to test how non-medical Soldiers react in emergency situations."
The MASCAL exercise, which is planned months in advance, was designed to simulate an actual scenario that the medics assigned to the JMTG-U might encounter.
"For this exercise, we simulated a car accident," Sincebaugh said. "We loaded two vans with Soldiers and they were then staged to simulate a rollover accident, which resulted in multiple injuries."
Though the Medical Section did the bulk of the planning, Soldiers from all across training group participated in the exercise.
"We reached out to each of the companies for non-medical Soldiers to act as role players," Sincebaugh said. "We then did research online regarding different types of injuries you would sustain in a vehicle rollover and we tried to replicate that."
As a way to make the training as realistic as possible, each of the role players was issued a casualty card. These cards described the injury that the role player sustained and were used by the medics during the triage and treatment of the patients.
"We also instruct the role players how to act with whatever injury they are assigned," Sincebaugh said.
"We were on our way to the range when we encountered a simulated car wreck involving two vehicles and approximately 10 people," said Spc. Caleb Bailey, a combat medic assigned to JMTG-U. "Spc. Robert Graber and I responded to the scene, and I took over as lead medic as Graber began triaging the patients in the vehicles."
"We had two patients that we had to notionally evacuate to higher care in Lviv," said Bailey. "We loaded the rest in the ambulance and came back to the medical clinic."
The MASCAL not only provided the medics with a scenario to test their medical skills, but it also allowed them to test their leadership skills.
"As a medic, when you show up at a scene there is usually a sergeant or officer there who takes charge," Bailey said. "As a specialist, I was the highest ranking one there and had to take charge."
Every time a MASCAL is conducted, the Soldiers assigned to the joint training group come together to work alongside our allied and partner nations.
"The Canadian armed forces are in charge of the unit medical clinic here, and we are guests in their facility," Sincebaugh said. "And, it's not just us and the Canadians though, the Ukrainians assist with some treatment and transportation, and also provide linguist support."
"MASCAL exercises are meant to stress your abilities and show where your weaknesses (are ). We identified that we are medically sound, but we do have some weak areas we are going to work on," Sincebaugh said. "Our senior leadership is on board with giving us the tools to fill in those gaps and strengthen those weaknesses."