CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- With the newly formed Fallujah Brigade operating under the helm of Marines in a renewed hope of stabilizing the city, the nearby surgical units of the 1st Force Service Support Group stand poised to aid their new allies.
Each one located a stone's throw from Fallujah, the Bravo Surgical Company at Camp Fallujah and Surgical/Shock Trauma Platoon here have opened their doors to the volunteer fighters, giving them the same medical care afforded American troops.
The Group, the Marines' logistical element in Iraq, provides the I Marine Expeditionary Force-led Iraqi brigade with emergency medical care, as well as basic equipment necessary to complete its mission.
The help the medical units provide under the new arrangement is not much more extensive than what they've already been providing Iraqis.
At Camp Fallujah, the surgical company has already treated a dozen members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps with combat-related injuries, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Richard C. Daugherty, 44, the company's top enlisted member.
Patients are not limited to coalition troops, though. The Law of War requires U.S. military personnel to collect and care for the wounded, whether friend or foe.
So far, 44 of the 146 patients the S/STP has seen here have been Iraqi civilians, some even insurgents who were injured during firefights. All received the same medical attention a Marine would have.
"We do medical triage, not political triage," said Navy Capt. H.R. Bohman, 54, a surgeon with the platoon here.
Both units are capable of providing virtually the same service, but where the patient is taken is usually based on their condition, the threat, the distance and mode of transportation available.
Bravo Surgical tends to receive more vehicle-borne casualties than the S/STP because it is located closer to Fallujah, said Lt. Cmdr. Carl H. Manemeit, 44, the Group's health service support officer.
Since Camp Taqaddum has an airfield, its S/STP usually receives casualties who have been air lifted out of a combat zone.
Anticipating the 1st Marine Division to be engaged in Fallujah for a longer period of time, the S/STP recently requested 24 additional sailors from naval hospitals at San Diego and Camp Pendleton, Calif., to be sent here to boost its numbers.
The extra hands will include three new surgeons and enough sailors to operate a waiting area for those needed medical evacuation elsewhere for recovery or follow-on care.
Another surgical company, which supports troops near Al Asad, and two Shock Trauma Platoons that possess fewer surgical capabilities than the S/STP are also dispersed throughout the western part of I MEF's operating area.
Supporting the Iraqi brigade is just a fraction of the Group's multi-faceted mission of providing I MEF's air and ground elements with supplies, maintenance, transportation, engineering and health care and general services.
The 1st FSSG also supported to the Fallujah Brigade May 1 when its Marines delivered an initial shipment of weapons, ammunition and uniforms to outfit the new Iraqi troops.
See related story: http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/ad983156332a819185256cb600677af3/09307f1b2259fa1c85256e8800336920?OpenDocument