Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. --
The effective movement of equipment and personnel in an austere environment can be the difference between mission success or failure. When it comes to moving medical personnel and supplies it can mean the difference between life or death. The Forward Resuscitation Surgical Team (FRST) has been established in order to provide that essential asset whenever needed, whether for humanitarian assistance or during Navel expeditionary warfare in contested spaces.
An FRST is a rapidly deployable 10 Sailor team consisting of many different medical specialties such as, emergency physicians, surgical technicians, and flight corpsmen. These teams are capable of managing two patients simultaneous and are able to treat up to four without needing to resupply. Additionally, the FRST is designed to fit into most military aircraft, giving them the ability to quickly move anywhere in their area of operation.
During Exercise Four Horsemen, a small group of U.S. Navy Sailors with 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, had the chance to hone their skills on a CH-53 Super Stallion from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
“We don’t normally get the chance to practice on actual helicopters, so when we do get the chance we take full advantage of the opportunity,” says Lt. Dana Flieger, a critical care nurse with the FRST. “We go over helicopter safety to make sure they know how to approach the aircraft, secure the patient, and are able to practice patient care while flying. It’s loud in the back of the helicopter, you don’t have great lighting, things are moving around, and you don’t have a lot of space. It just gives them a challenging work environment that’s realistic so they can run through their patient scenarios.”
Realistic training is key to mission of 1st Medical Battalion, they must always be ready to provide assistance to wherever the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force needs them.
“What we are doing here will affect people in the long run, because a lot of these sailors will deploy. And when you’re in those tough scenarios while in country you look back on your training for help,” says Flieger, “This training is incredibly important and I think it really will show when these sailors are out saving lives.”
(U.S. Marine Corps story by Sgt. Kyle McNan)