By Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie, USARPAC Public AffairsJune 30, 2009
BELLOWS AIR FORCE STATION, Hawaii - (June 25, 2009) A team of Soldiers lift a casualty on a stretcher and run toward a helicopter waiting to fly them out of an urban battle zone to safety.
This is the final scenario of the 18th Medical Command's first full warrior task training exercise since the unit's activation in November 2008.
"It was tough, realistic, combat-focused, and we wanted the Soldiers to leave at the end of the day knowing that they had a really good training event," said Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Shelton, command sgt. major of the 18th MEDCOM. "This training was a culminating event to get all our warrior tasks, our yearly training, but since we just stood up in November, it was a seven to eight month build up to get here."
Prior to loading the simulated casualty on a Marine CH-53 helicopter, participating Soldiers executed several battle drills in hours spent training at the Marine Corps Training area of Bellows Air Force Station.
The day's training involved a number of scenarios, to include reacting to an Improved Explosive Device, detainee operations, how to react to direct fire, first aid, land navigation training, proper radio procedures, internet computer security and calling in a Line-9 Medical Evacuation.
"It was a good initial warrior task training as a unit," said Lt. Col. Chadwick Bowers, commander, 18th MEDCOM. "Even though we have several seasoned combat veterans we also have a lot of young Soldiers and some officers who have not deployed. They had confidence in themselves knowing that they can react and respond, and this gives us the ability to have our Soldiers at a base standard of how to operate."
According to Bowers, as the theater medical command for USARPAC, all the medical units from Alaska, Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific area of operation, will eventually fall under the 18th MEDCOM.
"We are the medical battle, so we provide command and control for all assigned and attached to medical units," said Bowers.
Soldiers participating in the event expressed enthusiasm for the training as well.
"This was very good and very realistic training because we actually got out there with houses and simulations of Improvised Explosive Device," said Spc. Kawika Bergau, 18th MEDCOM Property Book Office.
Everyone involved expressed satisfaction with the training event.
"All in all, it went really well," said Shelton. "One of the great things about doing a collective task like this is the take away backbone, so when we do the after action review, we'll know exactly where we're at to go from here. You don't get that until you do an event like this, and what a great location to do it at. "
Bowers expressed confidence in the units' ability to meet the USARPAC commander's guidance and intent, which is, he said, to be battle focused.
"We're focused on our war-time mission with USARPAC. Although we're not fully manned and equipped yet, the azimuth is charted," said Bowers.