By Spc. Aaron GoodJune 14, 2018
SWIDWIN, Poland -- A mass casualty exercise is 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 technicians and ambulance drivers to 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 lifesaving operation. These exercises provide invaluable information regarding what it would take to save a service member's life and push the military medical teams to their limits in a controlled environment.
This year at Exercise Saber Strike, there are approximately 19 countries supporting the joint training operations in the Drawsko Pomorskie area of Poland. The British 306th Hospital Support Regiment based in York, England, the U.S. 212th Combat Support Hospital based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and the Polish First Army Field Hospital from Bydgoszcz, Poland, are the three military groups make up the 237 personnel which staff the field hospital during this year's Saber Strike exercise.
The 306th Hospital Support Regiment is providing a unique vantage point and area of expertise for the exercise. The Hospital Support Regiment is unique in that its soldiers provide specialist clinicians that the military wouldn't otherwise have in a training exercise such as this. The Hospital Support Regiment is providing care and knowledge in several areas such as pediatrics, women's health, and other medical specialties and surgical procedures.
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.
These specialties are being exercised through training like the mass casualty exercise and create challenging scenarios for medical professionals to solve. Throughout the training, specialists and clinicians are providing vital information to aid in enhancing our allies' medical knowledge and deployment readiness.
"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. Kelvin Wright of the 212th Combat Support Hospital. "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 212th Combat Support Hospital has a long standing and distinguished history. Dating back to the first World War, it has served with U.S. combat forces from Europe to Asia. The 212th Combat Support Hospital is one of the oldest combat support hospital units in the Armed forces.
The 212th Combat Support Hospital 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 the unit's 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 212th Combat Support Hospital. "We watched each others' procedures and created a hybridized system which benefits us all as well as the patients."