U.S. ARMY BASE FORT A.P. HILL, Va (Aug. 10, 2009) --
Marines and sailors with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment and Combat Logistics Battalion-24 teamed for a week of mass casualty drills, practicing the evacuation, evaluation and treatment of casualties here beginning Aug. 3.
A mass casualty is any event resulting in enough Marines being injured that logistical capabilities are overwhelmed and a mass casualty team is required to treat and evacuate victims to where they can receive required treatment.
“The reality is that a mass casualty (situation) can happen anywhere anytime, and it’s important to have as many personnel trained to be able to respond to that as possible,” said HM2 Jason B. Smith, corpsman, Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “The purpose of this training is to aid medical personnel as well as their security element in increasing their proficiency in the art of a mass casualty. Some Marines participating have no experience with mass casualty team or even a drill, making this training essential for them.
“I’ve never done mass casualty training before so I hope to get a better understanding of the process and the different steps of actually getting the casualties in through the triage, onto the birds (helicopters) and back to the ship to receive further medical treatment,” explained Cpl. William T. Ramage, supply clerk, CLB-24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The training also gives Marines and sailors a chance to work together and learn how the team works to accomplish the mission.
“We’re all getting ready to deploy, so this training helps the teams get used to each other, become more familiar with each other and build a trust within the team,” said HM3 Adam J. Voegtle, corpsman, H&S Company, BLT 1/9, 24th MEU. “It gives them a chance to see how they will react if this situation were to occur in real life; that way we will know how to work together smoothly in real life.”
At the end of the day, the teams gained proficiency and successfully accomplished their mission of getting casualties to safety.
“I think it went fantastic, the enthusiasm and effort that the Marines put into the training, and their willingness to learn was great and I can’t say enough about how proud I am of both the sailors and the Marines here,” said 1st Sgt. Sean C. Morgan, company first sergeant, H&S Company, BLT 1/9, 24th MEU.