News: MASCAL exercise hits Annual Training
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers of the 162nd Area Support Medical Company, 36th Brigade Support Brigade, 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard, participated in a full mass casualty exercise Aug. 5, 2013, during Annual Training at Fort Hood, Texas.
"We are a modular medical company, meaning we can be pushed out anywhere to provide support," said 1st Lt. Frank Johnson. "We used the MASCAL exercise to flex our unit's capabilities on a large scale, and to stress our leaders, our soldiers and our process to determine their responses."
The unit of a dozen medics, two physician assistants and numerous other emergency volunteer soldiers from other jobs within the 36th BSB treated more than 20 simulated casualties under the guise of a motor pool explosion.
"Three things happened all at once," said Johnson. "We had two casualties waiting to be airevac'ed by a medevac helicopter from 36th Combat Aviation Brigade. So as soon as the bird arrived to pick up those casualties, then a driver delivering eight simulated casualties showed up at the aid station, and a 9-line radio call came in calling for emergency medical response to an explosion at the motor pool with multiple casualties."
With three immediate response situations taking place simultaneously, the aid station and its medical teams jumped into action. A field litter ambulance with medics was dispatched to the motor pool, a triage intake point was created to take the injured out of the vehicle that had arrived at the aid station's front door, and a medical team quickly moved the soldiers to be airevac'ed to the waiting helicopter.
"Our medics were quick and efficient," said 1st Sgt. Jeff Adams of the 162nd ASMC. "Medical teams at the aid station quickly prioritized the patients. Those that were expectant, who would not survive, were put into a separate area for comfort care; those who require immediate surgery were taken in first; those who had minor injuries, who could wait a little longer to be seen, were put into a waiting area and had some of their smaller wounds treated by our field medics until they could be seen by one of the providers."
As slots opened up in the aid station, those with more severe injuries to the least were taken in in that order.
"The purpose was to identify holes or gaps in our process," said Johnson. "We also were able to refine our procedures and clearly define each role that each soldier would take in a situation like that."
The unit credits the volunteers and command of the 36th BSB for support and assistance they provided for the exercise.
"The casualties and the emergency volunteers from the brigade were excellent," said Adams. "They really jumped into their roles and sprung into action doing whatever it was that we needed them to do - whether that was to act accordingly to their assigned injuries or to be a mechanic who was pulled to provide comfort care to a casualty who was not going to make it."
This MASCAL exercise was one of many exercises each medical company from each brigade within the 36th Infantry Division, held during Annual Training.