MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT TRAINING CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - When Marines are injured in combat, often the first step to getting them back in the fight begins at the Shock Trauma Platoon and the Forward Resuscitative Surgical System.
That’s exactly what the corpsmen attached to Combat Logistics Regiment 1 from Bravo Surgical Company, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, trained in during Exercise Steel Knight 2014 aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Dec. 9-16.
“Our mission is to provide medical care to the supporting units,” said Navy Lt. Karl Matlage, commander, BS Co., 1st Med. Bn., 1st MLG. “In the case of Steel Knight, we’re just exercising our muscles – so to speak.”
The six-tent setup provides patients with the same level of medical attention that can be found in an average hospital.
Each corpsman working out of these tents ran a series of drills in which their medical readiness was put to the test.
Throughout the exercise, corpsmen had to react to a number of traumas such as gunshot wounds, amputations and other major injuries.
“The STP is the equivalent of an emergency room at a hospital,” said Matlage, a Corpus Christi, Texas, native. “This is where 90 percent of the casualties will receive their care.”
The other 10 percent of casualties usually sustain such significant injuries that they are rushed straight to the FRSS.
“The FRSS is the operating room of the field,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Taylor, surgical technologist, BS Co., 1st Med. Bn., 1st MLG, of Dallas, Texas. “We receive all of our patients directly from the STP. We’re able to operate for 24 hours continuously and 48 hours without resupply.”
Once treated by the FRSS, patients are able to move to the next line of care in a more stable condition.
“We’re able to receive patients quickly and save lives immediately,” said Taylor. “We get Marines and sailors back to their families.”
Without the dedication of medical personnel in a field environment, the STP and FRSS would not be up and running in such a timely manner.
“When we get to the field, the first thing we have to do is get ready to receive casualties. We don’t set up our billeting and we don’t eat chow. We have to get ready for casualties, and then we can go take care of ourselves. Lives depend on us being ready.”