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    U.S. Army Medevac soars through nuclear catastrophe training

    U.S. Army Medevac soars through nuclear catastrophe training

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Christopher Sofia | A U.S. Army crew chief with the 2-501st General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 1st...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Sofia 

    78th Training Division

    BUTLERVILLE, Ind. – On the ground, buildings lay to waste, crumbling. Debris and clothing are scattered all around. Vehicles lined askew on roads and paths, some flipped topsy-turvy. Smoke fills the air. Desperate cries for help can be heard, calling out for someone to save them. And overhead, in the distance, helicopters are on the way.

    Fortunately, this is only a training scenario called Guardian Response 18, which takes place at Muscatatuk Urban Training Center, Indiana, during the month of April.

    U.S. Army Soldiers from Charlie Company, 2-501st "Desert Knights" General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 1st Armored Division, based in Ft. Bliss, Texas, soar in on HH-60M MEDEVAC Blackhawks. They are here to train to validate their ability to assist with Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in the event of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) catastrophe.

    Leaders say this training is all about saving lives and preventing suffering.

    “Normally, at Ft. Bliss, Texas, we train for a decisive action fight for the next conflict, the next war. It is very different,” said Cpt. Nicholas Schaefer, Charlie Company Commander. “DCRF is different because we’re supporting the home front.”

    One thing that separates Charlie Company’s training from what they are used to back home in Texas, is the change in environment. There, the main concern is dust, but flying into an urban setting offers new challenges. There are power lines. Debris or trash on the ground can get kicked up into the rotors. Crowds of people rushing toward the helicopter is also a huge concern for the crew chief and flight medic.

    “There’s a lot more dynamics in an urban environment,” said Shaefer. “We really have to be on our game when landing and departing from an environment like Muscatatuck.”

    In the scenario, there’s a notional blast and radioactive plume with a trail of damage. The Soldiers and their helicopters are set-up outside of that plume, upwind and away from a nuclear blast in a safe airfield. They provide external support for displaced civilians, aid the injured, aid the medical sites on the ground, relieve them and evacuate those patients and casualties out.

    Inside the Medevac, it is basically an ER capable of carrying six litter patients, six ambulatory, or a mix of both.

    In addition to a change in venue during the exercise, flight crews will have the opportunity to train on the latest high-tech medical gear called Medical Ultra Wideband Broadcast, or MEDHUB. It is a hands-free system that uses Bluetooth technology to capture data, including patient information, inventory and arrival times.

    Normally, when treating patients on the frontline, medics often must transcribe patient info on cards or memorize the data. The new technology will help speed up the process and inform the receiving hospital physicians on the patients’ status before they arrive.

    “They will be better able to make decisions for the patient based on all of this data being transmitted,” said Staff Sgt. Spencer Anderson, a crew chief with Charlie Company. “Not only that, but the information will travel all the way up to division level almost in real time as it updates every two minutes.”

    Planning their route and the logistics for the route for a two-day trip from Ft. Bliss, Texas to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, took four to five weeks. They planned by solidifying routes, fuel, contingencies, and identified the crews that will be conducting this mission.

    Speaking about MUTC itself, Schaefer was very impressed.

    “We got a chance to fly over it and there’s so much there. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “We’re looking forward to all of the training and participating in this exercise as the only live aircraft. It’s going to be cool.”



    Date Taken: 04.22.2018
    Date Posted: 04.22.2018 18:48
    Story ID: 274041

    Web Views: 198
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    U.S. Army Medevac soars through nuclear catastrophe training