News: 1st Medical Battalion trains to save lives
Story by Cpl. Laura Gauna
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – When Marines are injured on the front lines, their Navy brethren must provide quick and efficient care to keep them alive. Exercise Black Mamba was formed with that responsibility in mind.
Approximately 90 Marines and sailors trained with physical, mental, and emotional challenges to prepare them for missions around the world.
The surgeons and corpsmen of 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, displayed a high level of work ethic while participating in exercise Black Mamba aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 27, 2013.
The main effort of the exercise was to efficiently set up and run a Shock Trauma Platoon [STP] in order to treat injuries in a quick and timely manner.
“We are training our corpsmen and doctors to respond to whatever mission that [I Marine Expeditionary Force] may call us for,” said Navy Lt. Paul Dalangpan, Officer-in-charge during Black Mamba and a native of Carson, Calif. “[This training] is critical because it saves lives. The emergency medical care we provide to our Marines keeps them alive until we can get them to a higher echelon of care.”
“It’s like an emergency room but forward deployed,” added Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon Shelton, a casualty-evacuation care corpsman and a native of Salinas, Calif.
An STP is equipped with everything needed to provide emergency resuscitative care on the front lines: operating table, anesthesia circuit, portable oxygen generator, monitors, ventilators, blood bank, ultra-sound device, X-ray machines, and surgical equipment.
“The goal is to rapidly assemble [the equipment], provide emergency resuscitative care if necessary, stabilize the patient, and evacuate the casualty to a higher echelon of care,” said Shelton. “We set these up on [forward operating bases] but it is also designed to be mobile. Essentially, we can break down and set one up in one hour.”
During the exercise, the corpsmen and surgeons were able to perform combined-forces medical training, including mock mass-casualty drills, medical emergency scenarios, and medical air evacuation procedures and techniques.
“This is the first time we have trained with [MV-22] Ospreys,” said Dalangpan. “Our corpsmen coming back from [Operation Enduring Freedom] shared that they were not properly trained to deal with the difficulties that came with evacuating a patient in an Osprey, so we decided to incorporate it in this exercise.”
The Marines and sailors spent four days honing their skills as an emergency medical team and senior members felt it was a good learning experience.
“This is very important to go through because it shows them the atmosphere that they are going to have to get used to and it gives them an understanding of what they might see and how they can accomplish the mission,” said Shelton.
Black Mamba is one of many scheduled exercises that 1st Med. Bn. puts together to prepare their troops for deployments.
“We are here to train and test our capabilities to ensure we are ready when I MEF may call,” said Dalangpan. “We train to support the riflemen around the world.”