SWIDWIN, Poland - A mass casualty exercise is most often extremely vivid and hyper realistic. These exercises seemingly take the realism a step further each iteration to provide the most realistic training possible for medical health care professionals ranging from emergency medical technician's, ambulance drivers and surgical doctors. Mass casualty exercises in some cases will go as far as rushing a simulation patient from the battle field with an injury all the way to the operating room for a potentially life-saving operation. These exercises provide invaluable information regarding potentially saving a service members life and push the military medical teams to there limits in a controlled environment.
This year at Saber Strike, there are approximately 19 countries supporting the joint training operations in the Drawsko Pomorskie area of Poland. The 306th Hospital Support Regiment based in York, England, the 212 Combat Support Hospital based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and the Polish First Army Field Hospital from Bydgoszcz, Poland. These three military groups make up the 237 personnel which staff the field hospital during this year's Saber Strike exercise.
The 306th HSR is providing a unique vantage point and area of expertise for the exercise. The HSR is unique in that they provide specialist clinicians that the military wouldn't otherwise have in a training exercise such as this. The HSR is providing care and knowledge in several areas such as pediatrics, women's health, as well as other medical specialties and surgical procedures. These specialties are being exercised through training like the mass casualty exercise and create challenging scenarios for medical professionals to attempt to solve. Collaborating with the 212th CSH and the Polish Army Field Hospital, specialists and clinicians from England and Europe proper are providing vital information to aid in enhancing our allies' medical knowledge and deployment readiness. Exercises like these as well as enhanced medical asset support from the Polish and the British not only further strengthen our military posture across the globe but also provide the increased military life-saving ability from the battlefield to the garrison environment.
"Its about stressing the system where it's not normally stressed. This is the third or fourth exercise we've done with these guys. They were good, now they're really good and they are getting better each time." Said Lt. Col. Wright. "This training is vital so that when we deploy together in the future the injuries will be real, but the medical staff has had themselves tested already."
The 212 CSH has a long standing and distinguished history. Dating back to the first World War, it has served on U.S. combat forces from Europe to Asia. Since 1917 to 2018, the CSH is one of the oldest Combat Support Hospital units in the Armed forces. The CSH is no stranger to joint task force operations like Saber Strike. They have utilized this exercise to learn new procedures and tasks as well as how their medical strategies differ slightly between the nations.
"We've learned that we have the same ideas and principles but have slightly different procedures. Our operations have completely intertwined at Saber Strike this year. Currently our medical teams have Polish and British Doctors as well as American medical services mixed in throughout" said Sgt. 1st Class Courtney Moore of the 212 CSH. "We watched each others' procedures and created a hybridized system which benefits us all as well as the patients."
The Polish First Army Field Hospital also plays a crucial role in Saber Strike. The Polish provided three physicians and three nurses for the entirety of the exercise. These service members were specifically assigned to the trauma care and EMT ward of the field hospital and were designated as leaders or members of medical teams throughout the exercise. The Polish were tasked with assisting with soldiers who were suffering from life-threatening injuries or catastrophic hemorrhaging. This task can be difficult when presented with language barriers or procedural differences. The Polish have adapted and overcome many of the initial hurdles associated with a multinational medical operation to this extent. Whether simulation or real world injury, the Polish and the multinational teams provide outstanding care to soldiers and service members at Saber Strike.