CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Corpsmen with 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, displayed their medical expeditionary capabilities in support of Marines from 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, during a mass casualty exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 26, as part of Dawn Blitz 2013.
The four-day exercise tested the Marines’ and sailors’ technical proficiency and ability to work in unison amidst an increasingly stressful and chaotic environment.
Marines from 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, responded to the simulated ambush with speed and intensity, securing the area and evacuating casualties played by sailors from 1st Medical Bn., 1st MLG.
The casualties were flown to a nearby treatment site by CH-46s from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. At the treatment site, corpsmen from 1st Medical Bn. promptly stabilized the critically wounded patients, provided life-saving techniques and sent them to other tents for follow-on care when necessary.
“There are a lot of people involved in making sure the riflemen get back safely,” said Navy Lt. Paul B. Dalangpan, company commander for Bravo Surgical Company, 1st Medical Bn.
Approximately 70 personnel from 1st Medical Bn. participated in the exercise and treated 15 casualties with different injuries.
The exercise emphasized realism and immersion. The corpsmen practiced their ability to perform life-saving surgeries in the Forward Resuscitative Surgical System while the simulated casualties wore detailed special-effects makeup and acted out their injuries realistically.
“It is important to expose the doctors, nurses and corpsmen to the sights, sounds and smells,” said Dalangpan, a native of Carson, Calif. “We want to familiarize them firsthand, so that if they are ever in a situation to treat casualties in that environment, they are best prepared.”
For Seaman Trevor Z. Ryan, a hospital corpsman with 1st Medical Bn. and native of Huntington Beach, Calif., participating in the exercise for the very first time was both stressful and educational.
“I’ve never been in a Shock Trauma Platoon before, and some of us are fresh out of school,” said Ryan. “We have actors who are real amputees. It’s high speed and there’s a lot of realism. Personally, I’m a hands-on learner, and the more I do it, the better I get.”
Ultimately, the focus of the doctors, nurses, corpsmen and Marines of 1st Medical Bn. is to support infantry units like 2nd Bn., 5th Marines, in the battlefield, said Dalangpan.
“Rehearsing our medical capabilities requires a lot of practice,” said Dalangpan. “For surgical procedures in the field, we don’t have the hard structures you would see in a hospital. It is critical that we rehearse our capabilities in this environment so that we can be prepared to support (the infantry).”