Medics react to mass casualty exercise in Iraq

By on Thursday, July 7th, 2011

While commanders cannot predict when an attack will happen, leaders can train their Soldiers to treat casualties when an attack does occur.

Medics and health care providers with 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, practiced their skills at reacting to a simulated mass casualty event on Contingency Operating Base Warhorse, Iraq, June 6, 2011.

The exercise was an opportunity to jump-start training for a group of medics and providers who recently arrived in Iraq.

“This is about creating muscle memory,” said Maj. Emuejevoke Okoh, brigade surgeon. “When it actually comes to treating Soldiers everyone gets nervous. This helps get people in the mode to respond without having to think about it.”

Medical personnel faced five casualties with varying degrees of injury. Medics and first aid responders triaged the wounded, treated life-threatening injuries and then prepared the injured Soldiers to be medically evacuated to a larger treatment facility.

“This training helps ensure the Soldiers are proficient in medical exercises and evacuation,” explained 1st Sgt. Chad McDaniel, senior enlisted leader with Company C, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd AAB.

This training helps medics and providers practice important concepts like moving casualties and working as a team, said McDaniel.

Soldiers also gain proficiency in simple, yet important tasks, McDaniel added, such as knowing where certain equipment is located or where different medications are kept within their aid bags.

“This will help them be ready the first time a real situation comes up,” said Okoh.

For the medics who participated in the mass casualty exercise, the benefits became immediately clear.

“We can feel ourselves getting better with each exercise,” said Spc. Hao Wu, a medic with 2nd AAB.

Wu said after seeing the proficiency of the medical staff and quality of care provided during the exercise, he feels confident about bringing his soldiers to the clinic if an attack ever does happen.

Soldiers of 2nd AAB, 1st Cav. Div., are scheduled to assume control of operations in Diyala province later this month, as 2nd AAB, 25th Infantry Div., returns to the U.S. following a year-long deployment in support of Operation New Dawn.

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