FORT POLK, La. (Oct. 9, 2012) -- Mortars hit Gorgas Army Airfield, as a field training exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center near Fort Polk, La., Oct. 8, causing the number of casualties to exceed the hospital's capabilities to provide immediate medical care.

Soldiers made a high-speed sprint to the closest place for adequate cover; when the "All Clear" sounded, all first responders and all participating parties helped to get the wounded personnel to immediate care.

In the event of a mass casualty, or MASCAL, all Soldiers, regardless of their primary job, serve as first responders until medics arrive on the scene.

The MASCAL simulated exercise trains these troops assigned to 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment to rush to their respective places according to the medical evacuation plan. They grabbed the gear needed to assist the wounded, donned surgical gloves and braced themselves to treat a vast number of injured warriors.

The exercise was to prepare all troops on the medical evacuation plan in the event of a real-world mass casualty.

Mass casualty training is important because it could happen at any time," said Elijah Dickson, a Wings of the Eagle medic. "We need to be prepared at a moment's notice to save the lives of others. We never want to say we weren't trained properly or we were not prepared for this tragedy. (We want) to bring our brethren back home."

The medics triaged about 10 Soldiers during the MASCAL exercise, during which they treated various types of injuries.

"Some of the injuries that we had were some abdominal wounds, neck lacerations with protruding objects and some facial wounds," said Sawyer Braun a Wings of the Eagle medic.

Medics were impressed with how quickly the first responders treated the patients and transported them to the casualty support hospital.

"The first responders did a great job at assessing the injury and providing the care needed for that specific injury," said Braun. "Overall, the training went well. Any practice of a MASCAL drill is good practice. It helps to see where your faults are, and it improves on our plan to make it better."