News: 22nd MEU participates in mass casualty evacuation training
Story by Cpl. Manuel Estrada
FORT PICKETT, Va. - U.S. Marines and Navy corpsmen with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in a mass casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) drill as part of the MEU’s Realistic Urban Training exercise at Fort Pickett, Va., Aug. 30, 2013.
During the drill, the Marines and Sailors learned how to insert by air, secure an area, triage the wounded and transport them to the nearest medical facility.
The mass CASEVAC drill was the culminating event of four days of casualty care and evacuation training. The drill started with a field of role players, covered in simulated blood, yelling for help. The role players acted as casualties with specific, predetermined injuries, and each were given instructions on how to behave in order to test the skills of the first responders.
The first element of responders was inserted by Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced) MV-22 Osprey aircraft into the field to set up security. When the aircraft landed, the Marines ran out and formed a circle around the casualty area. A group of Marines then searched and cleared the casualties of possible weapons or explosives.
After the Marines determined that there were no threats on the field, corpsmen triaged the casualties.
“We pull the people out of the hazards and triage them accordingly,” said Hospitalman First Class Justin Mullins, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd MEU, corpsman and native of Mesa, Ariz. “We provide care, stabilize them and we get them out in a smooth and timely fashion.”
The casualties were separated into three categories based on the level of care needed: expected, immediate or delayed.
Those casualties in the immediate category were the first to be loaded into the Osprey and taken to the nearest medical facility.
“This drill was the final of four days of practical applications for the mass CASEVAC drills,” said Chief Hospitalman Robert Craig, Special Operation Training Group (SOTG) medical chief.
According to Craig, SOTG added unexpected obstacles throughout the drill, such as aggressive casualties, casualties with weapons and casualties who did not speak English.
“On the Marine Corps side, we start with self-aid, buddy-aid and basic combat life saver skills to identify what injuries are immediate or delayed,” said 1st Sgt. Nathaniel K. Glover, Headquarters and Service Company, BLT 1/6, 22nd MEU, company first sergeant and native of Grovetown, Ga. “We also provide security to the site, and the added obstacles tested our role during the exercise.”
The drill also reinforced teamwork between the Marines and the corpsmen, according to Glover.
“We are deploying on a MEU,” said Mullins. “This exercise gives our Sailors confidence going forward. We do not know what we are going to be called upon to do, but the skills we learn here establish a baseline. The teamwork between the Marine Corps and the Navy is on par to none.”
The MEU is scheduled to deploy in early 2014 to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious missions across the full range of military operations.