Story by 2nd Lt. Jamie Douglas, Regimental Engineer Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Unit Public Affairs Representative
The call for "MASCAL" blared repeatedly over loudspeakers.
Troopers from the Regimental Engineer Squadron "Pioneer," 3rd Cavalry Regiment "Brave Rifles," came running to the medical compound to conduct a mass casualty readiness exercise July 23, 2018, to integrate tenant units and sharpen the skills of medical providers.
A MASCAL is a mass casualty incident where the number of wounded casualties exceeds the capabilities of a medical facility. The exercise conducted by Pioneer and coalition partners was designed to help improve responses to just such an incident.
"These exercises give us great insight and real time feedback that allow us to asses our procedures and improve our medical response and capabilities," said Maj. Jason Glow, 3rd Cav. Regt. family medicine doctor.
The combined, joint training exercise tested response teams and medical personnel, including a U.S. Navy Role II expeditionary medical unit, Army Role I, civilian-manned fire department, and Finnish and Canadian military medics.
"Everyone plays an important role, from lab testing and intensive care nurses, to the Army medics, Navy corpsmen, and Longknife Troopers bringing in 'casualties' from the point of injury," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Biggie from the Navy's Role II clinic.
The 3rd Cav. Regt. is currently deployed to Iraq in support of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, working by, with and through the Iraqi Security Forces and coalition partners to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. This means they have to be ready to work with partners from many different nationalities in the event of an emergency.
Pioneer troopers liaise with an Iraqi Army operational command; provide organic engineer, signal and military intelligence support to the Brave Rifles Regiment; and lead base operations support integration on a multi-service and multinational tactical installation.
The purpose of the MASCAL exercise was to improve the communication and cohesiveness of the medical and security teams. It also validated the MASCAL standard operating procedure in place.
Nomad Troop from the 4th Squadron "Longknife," 3rd Cav. Regt., initiated the exercise, responding to a simulated vehicle-borne improvised explosive device on the perimeter that caused simulated injuries to several troopers.
The role players received medical care from first responders at the point of injury and were evacuated to a designated casualty collection point where they received further care until transported to the installation's Role II facility. The Role II has more medical capabilities and treatment options than the installation Role I, however they work hand in hand.
"Organization and proper tracking is paramount during a MASCAL to ensure a timely and effective outcome for our patients," said 1st Lt. Larry Williams, Pioneer physician assistant.
The Role II received and efficiently triaged the role players, categorizing each patient as an X, Y or Z in order to get them to the correct treatment location depending on their injuries. Navy corpsmen and the fire department worked together to transport soldiers to the appropriate areas within the medical compound. The emergency room and surgical suite received patients requiring intensive care treatment.
"The MASCAL exercise tested our procedures and medical capabilities and allowed us to identify areas to improve upon in the future," said Capt. Michael Lane, commander of the Navy Role II. "There is always room for improvement, but this is a great start, and we are very happy with the results."
The MASCAL exercise tested newly formed standard operating guidelines set by the recently arrived Navy Role II.
"Integrating U.S. and coalition forces for this exercise allowed us to create a more detailed and effective MASCAL plan that benefits everyone involved" said Biggie.