By Sgt. Scott Kim, 1st HBCT Public AffairsOctober 22, 2008
Area 1 Soldiers and Civilians participated in an Adaptive Focus Antiterrorism Exercise along with Service members from United States Forces Korea and civilian Fire Emergency Services Response units Oct. 15-16.
During the exercise, a "vehicle-born improvised explosive device" went off, wounding a large number of Soldiers.
"Today's mission was to test our Soldiers' capabilities during the most strenuous time that they're going to have as medics, and that's conducting a mass casualty," said 1st Sgt. Luke Alphonso, 629th Medical Company Area Support, 168th Multifunctional Medical Battalion.
"As a dental hygienist you don't normally get to experience this," said Spc. Natasha Medlock, a dental specialist for the 618th Dental Company. "This type of training makes you more knowledgeable and proficient in the medical field as a whole."
No matter how many times a Soldier can go through this type of training, there is always something more to learn.
"This is the type of stuff we do when we deploy as medical personnel," said Staff Sgt. Mellissa Jackson, a medic and NCOIC for the clinic for the 629th Medical Company Area Support, 168 MMB. "You can do this type of thing over and over again and you always learn something different every time you do it."
Throughout the training, 'wounded' and 'dying' Soldiers streamed into the TMC, which could have led to chaos, but leaders and senior medical personnel were there to ensure things went as smoothly as possible while junior Soldiers worked hard and delivered during the time of crisis.
"I learned how hectic things can get, but also how easily it can be deciphered when you have the right leadership," Medlock said. Medical personnel from different companies also came together in order to lend a helping hand and share knowledge with one another.
"We didn't just have Soldiers from 629 MCAS, we had medics from 210th Fires Brigade, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and others working in a joint effort to make it all work," said Jackson.
Although some Soldiers may find these exercises time consuming and inconvenient, many others agree that it is necessary training for all Soldiers.
"I've been here for two years and I wish Korea would have more of these exercises to train people in wartime scenarios," said Medlock.
"I'm sure a lot of new Soldiers have gained a lot of experience throughout this whole exercise."