News: ROK, U.S. service members hone combat lifesaving skills
Story by Lance Cpl. Jose Lujano
SOUTH KOREA - Republic of Korea Marines and U.S. service members honed their lifesaving skills April 11 during a mass casualty exercise at Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex during Korean Marine Exchange Program 13-5, part of Ssang Yong 13.
The ROK Marines are with Battalion Landing Team 71. The U.S. service members are with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is currently attached to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force as part of the Unit Deployment Program.
The event’s purpose was to boost the relationship between the ROK and U.S. forces, enabling them to interact and train for mass casualty situations in and out of a combat zone.
During the training evolution ROK and U.S. forces operated side-by-side to develop and learn from each other’s medical procedures and knowledge, according to Cpl. Youngjoo Kim, an infantryman with BLT 71.
“Both the sailors and Marines are highly experienced in the medical field,” said Kim. “This was a good way to compare differences, learn new things, come together, and build our relationship with each other.”
All service members were able to utilize their Individual First Aids Kits and drill in basic medical procedures. They also practiced their lifesaving capabilities pertaining to serious injuries in a combat environment.
“We were able to showcase our equipment and techniques that we use to the ROK Marines,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Steven A. Kelly, an independent duty corpsman with 1/3. “Since it was a large-scale mass casualty drill we practiced how to evaluate the urgency of injuries, how to pinpoint and prioritize the injuries for treatment.”
The goal throughout the training was the improvement of combat readiness in the medical field and communication between the ROK and U.S. forces, according to Kelly.
“This is my first time in Korea and my ROK counterparts train the same way we do. We train like we fight: tough,” said Lance Cpl. Eduardo Mendez, a supply administration and operations specialist with 1/3. “It is not only about training hard but being able to save lives at an individual level.”
There is nothing greater than being able to give his military brothers the confidence that he is capable of providing medical care in a scenario where he is the only man standing, according to Mendez.