Story by Capt. Jessica Donnelly
59th Aviation Troop Command
Shouting these words into a hospital’s emergency room in Afghanistan starts a chain reaction of medical personnel getting ready to receive a casualty. While in this instance, the casualty is simulated, the medical care provided can make the difference between life and death for service members fighting on the front line. This is why it’s important for these procedures to be practiced to ensure there are no mistakes made when the casualties are real.
The Task Force Marauder medical evacuation (medevac) company participated in a mass casualty exercise with the Role 3 hospital, Dec. 23, 2017, in Afghanistan to practice and refine procedures in the event of a real-world emergency.
Detachment 1, Charlie Company, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), MEDEVAC, Iowa National Guard, with Task Force Marauder partnered with the hospital, base emergency medical services (EMS), Polish special forces, U.S. Air Force security forces, and U.S. Army 82nd Airborne service members for the exercise. C Co., 2-211th GSAB (MEDEVAC) provided aerial transportation and en route medical care for simulated casualties before transporting the patients to the hospital for follow-on care. The purpose of the exercise was to test current practices and communication in a training setting to ensure everyone knows their part in a real-world event.
“The exercise allowed each participant to test their reaction time,” said U.S. Army Capt. Erin Doyle, C Co., 2-211th GSAB (MEDEVAC) commander. “Everyone got to test themselves and work out all the kinks in a controlled environment.”
The hospital practiced their newly implemented standard operating procedure, the Polish special forces practiced securing a landing zone, and triaging and handing off patients to the MEDEVAC, security forces conducted patient clearing, and the 2-211th GSAB Soldiers tested their ability to respond to a daytime mass casualty, added Doyle.
In a real-world emergency where C Co., 2-211th GSAB (MEDEVAC) responds, the Soldiers would coordinate with the ground unit and pick up the casualty. While en route to the hospital, the medics on board would provide medical care while communicating with the hospital to be prepared to receive the patient, explained U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Fromknecht, hospital director of administration.
“These partnerships are crucial,” he said. “We rely on [the medevac unit] to give us input. The communication is vital for us to be ready.”
The exercise participants plan to continue to coordinate and train together to further build the relationships and streamline processes, added Doyle.
Task Force Marauder consists of Soldiers from South Carolina National Guard, Illinois National Guard, Iowa National Guard, as well as active duty component and provides aviation capabilities with AH64 Apaches, UH60 Black Hawks, CH47 Chinooks, and medevac assets in Afghanistan under the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade while deployed.