News

Medical goes mobile

25 Feb 2003 | Lance Cpl. Jeremy M. Vought

For the 1st Force Service Support Group's Medical Battalion, saving the lives of Marines is top priority. During Vietnam, Marines were transported and treated rapidly after an injury due to the small and compact battlefield. In comparison, during the Gulf War a spread-out battlefield posed a problem because it took much longer to transport and treat injured Marines due to a swift desert battle.

Eleven years later, Marines are back in the Middle East planning for possible medical
casualties if ordered into combat operations. This time, instead of devising a faster way to transport injured back to the rear for care, Navy medical service providers have become more mobile themselves.
The Shock Trauma Platoon is that bridge to span the vastness of the modern day battlefield to treat Marines faster and in turn saves lives.

The Marines and sailors of the STP hail themselves as the most mobile medical provider on the battlefield because they will provide Level I care while still staying mobile. By moving from location to location on the battlefield and in the case of a casualty needing more specialized care; they will be evacuating patients to Surgical Company LEVEL II Casualty Treatment Centers.

In the event an STP needed to be moved to another location, the Marines and sailors are able to tear down their two-tent facility in one hour and build it back up in two hours.

An STP is made up of Marines and sailors - board-certified emergency room physicians, duty corpsmen, physician's assistants, corpsmen, motor transport drivers, electricians and communication Marines. Also, a Marine security team and a team of landing support specialists are associated with an STP.

Each STP employs two trucks that tow a generator and a water bull, two ambulances and one HMMWV. In the case an STP needs to move quickly on the battlefield, they have the capabilities to go airborne on two CH-46s.

The first step in the medical process after a person suffers an injury is the buddy-care
step. If more help is needed, a corpsman is called up and the corpsman will do what he can to help the patient. The STP comes into play when the patient needs Level I medical care.

There they can treat respiratory problems; gun shot wounds, burns and most other
life-threatening injuries. In the case that Level II care is needed the STP will evacuate the patient to the Forward Resuscitative Surgical System site. There they have surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, operating room technicians and basic corpsmen.

"We treat Marines, (enemy prisoners of war) and other friendly forces all the same," said Cmdr. Peter B. Mishky, an emergency medical physician with Combat Service Support Company 117's STP. "We will even treat civilians if it doesn't hinder the mission, but for everyone the nature of the injury dictates order."

There will be STPs spread all over the battlefield, which will facilitate medical care to save lives on a battlefield that has become far more complex since Desert Storm. 

Because officials are expecting a fast battlefield, medical care is required to meet the needs of fast moving mobile units. The STP is that answer that will prevent unnecessary deaths, bringing our Marines and sailors back home to awaiting families and friends.

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1st Marine Logistics Group