FORT DRUM, N.Y. - As the smoke hit and the sounds of explosions and small-arms fire rang out, Massachusetts Army National Guard Soldiers did not hesitate. First, they had to neutralize the enemy. Then, it was time to perform combat-lifesaver tasks on the wounded, some friendly, some enemy, and extract them from the battlefield.
All the while, evaluators from the First Army’s Division East out of Camp Atterbury, Indiana, followed with clipboards, assessing Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, July 19, 2022, at the 44th IBCT’s eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise.
In the field, these training lanes demand higher-level planning, coordination and execution, especially with multiple locations and units working together to provide real-world combat training. Such collaboration between the battalion, First Army and Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division leadership was paramount to the success of this exercise.
Simultaneously, the combat medics and medical officers from the Headquarters Company of the Massachusetts-based battalion were receiving communications of a mass-casualty event in need of transport from miles across the installation. These communications were a part of their mass casualty training and would be a part of their evaluations.
“On one of our lanes, our company took fire, our line medics reacted, we dispatched an ambulance to their grid coordinates, and when they got back, we triaged, treated, and evacuated them back to the higher echelon of care,” said 1st. Lt. Abigail Silbert, a medical officer with the battalion.
Silbert was impressed with the performance of her Soldiers.
“Everyone performed great, the communication was great, we really mastered the closed-loop communication on the treatment tables, medications were being given, blood was hung, and those are all higher-level skills that take a lot of communication,” she said.
Silbert, a neurology nurse at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, noted that most of her colleagues also save lives in their civilian jobs.
“The skills that they have – I’ll never get bored watching,” she said. “They’re very impressive. Leading up to the exercise, they taught numerous classes on various sophisticated medications and treatment techniques, and it really paid off and will pay off in the real world.”