Story by U.S. Army Capt. Taylor Criswell, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade
STORCK BARRACKS, Germany- Over 30 Army medics, unit ministry personnel, behavioral health specialists and doctors validate casualty care procedures at Storck Barracks, Germany, April 22, 2022.
The drill tested the on-post medical team’s ability to respond to a large number of people needing immediate medical assistance.
“This exercise exercises our mass casualty standard operating procedure for Storck Barracks,” said Maj. Joe Adams, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade surgeon. “It allows us to identify areas where we can improve, integrate with the stork barracks fire department and refine our communications process in the event of a mass casualty situation.”
A large pool of Soldiers volunteered as notional casualty actors to assist in the exercise. Each actor was given a casualty scenario card with a specified injury to act out with varying degrees of severity.
At the onset of the drill, medics did a series of physical exercises to raise heart rates and emulate the rush of adrenaline encountered in a real-world scenario.
Areas of the parking lot were established and marked to help medics separate different levels of injuries.
Medics and medical support personnel worked to maintain composure as they responded to the mass of notional casualties transported to the clinic parking lot.
“Communication can make or break the process,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Lowe, combat medic and 1st Sgt. for brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “Part of the exercise is to refine and improve communication between the different sections.”
As the large pool of notional casualties attempted to overwhelm the medical team in play, medics pushed through the fog to triage and move casualty actors.
“This is where the communication piece starts affecting your triage officer and NCOs,” said Lowe. “They have to designate exactly where they want casualties placed so they can figure out what is wrong and get them moved into and out of the building with ease.”
As the triage team progressed, litter teams transported actors portraying the severely wounded to treatment rooms inside the clinic, where doctors and medics had staged for treatment beyond first aid.
“We must exercise our procedures should we experience the loss of an aircraft,” Lowe elaborated. “This helps us identify what we need to do to evacuate people off of the post for further medical care. It is paramount to ensure all systems are in place so that everyone involved understands what actions they need to take to treat and move the casualties.”
The unit ministry team also participated in the drill to exercise one of their primary functions.
“One of our primary missions in the chaplain corps is care for the wounded,” explained Maj. Rob Jackson, brigade chaplain. “Participating in this exercise helps us integrate with the medical teams at a critical time to tend to Soldiers’ spiritual and emotional needs.”
“Also, by working with our medical providers, we build a relationship to provide care to the caregivers,” Jackson said. “It helps build a certain level of trust between various caregivers before potential events occur.”