By Mr. Roger Meyer (Army Medicine)April 5, 2016
By the USAMEDDAC-Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- The 10th Combat Support Hospital's 2nd Forward Surgical Team conducted a training exercise named "Operation EACH Shield" to train and validate the team's roles and processes. The two-day exercise ended April 1 and was a collaboration with the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Carson (which operates Evans Army Community Hospital) and the Company C, 2 General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The 2nd FST's Commander Maj. Bradley A. Rittenhouse said the goal was to better prepare his Soldiers in the event the team is activated for a reactionary force mission and to exercise resuscitative and surgical capabilities while integrating with civilian medical facilities.
While working in the hospital's Emergency Department, the team evaluated and treated both real and simulated patients using the team concept and roles under the direction of Evans hospital staff. The exercise focused on increasing medical skills, rapidly evaluating and treating patients, cross training team personnel and safe medical evacuation operations.
"The support we received from Evans Army Community Hospital in allowing us to use our medical skills caring for real patients is a great help," Rittenhouse said. "It ensures we are ready for any contingency operation and that our medics' and nurses' skills remain sharp."
As the FST trained to rapidly triage, evaluate and provide appropriate treatment for patients as a unit, its Soldiers were also required to request and coordinate the movement of patients. A Company C, 2-4 GSAB medical evacuation crew provided that support while training on safe MEDEVAC procedures and patient evaluation.
Rittenhouse said, "With the C Co 2-4 GSAB's assistance we were able to exercise the evacuation of critical patients to higher level of care which would likely be required for U.S. or overseas contingency operations."
The combined-unit MEDEVAC exercise provided real-world training while also testing a potential hospital landing zone that would support Fort Carson's mass casualty and MEDEVAC plan.
"The exercise was a great opportunity for hospital staff to work with the 2nd Forward Surgical Team and the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade's medical evacuation company," said Maj. Jess Christensen, Evans hospital's chief of operations. "We learned how each other operate and worked out key procedures if we ever need to MEDEVAC to or from Evans Army Community Hospital; overall the exercise was a very relevant training scenario to keep us all ready and proficient."