MIDDLE RIVER, Md. - An ambulance arrives with screams from inside that drown out the sirens. A woman fills the air with sounds of terror. Inside the tent, the energy is high and people begin to run and shout commands in an effort to quickly treat the injured Soldier. The back doors fly open and medics pull out the stretcher. Four personnel rush the woman to the triage section of the make-shift hospital. The diagnosis ... a gun shot wound to the abdomen with lacerations to her arms and legs. This is how the Mass Casualty training exercise begins.
Members of the 104th Area Support Medical Company conduct routine and emergent medical care during training missions on Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Md., Aug. 1, 2015. The ASMC trains to establish a fully functional Role II Medical Treatment Facility as part of the unit's annual training. (Photo by Army National Guard Spc. Allen Griffith)
The MASCAL exercise took place at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Maryland. It ran from July 23, 2015, until Aug. 7, 2015, as part of the Maryland National Guard's 104th Area Support Medical Company's annual training.
Army Maj. William Fox, 104th ASMC commander and Maryland deputy state surgeon, said he saw the need for the unit to work in a joint service environment, so he started planning this training with the 175th Wing over a year ago, well before the Baltimore protests. At the time of the protests in April 2015, the 104th ASMC was already at an 80 percent fully ready status.
“We have a common goal to support the state of Maryland in disaster response. In coming here, we're establishing a collaborative work environment,” said Fox.
Warfield ANG Base is set as a Joint Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration site, which would handle all movement into and out of a national emergency operation. With the help of the 10th Regiment from the Maryland Defense Force, C-169th Aviation Regiment and the 175th Wing, this exercise will help soldiers and airmen understand their roles and improve their readiness if the need arises.
Army Maj. Matthew Miskimon, 104th ASMC lead field surgeon, said, “The mission here is to operate a Medical Treatment Facility and this is the first time we're able to get the entire unit to participate. We're learning together how to accomplish that goal.”
Members of the 104th Area Support Medical Company conduct casualty evacuation training with a C-130H2 aircraft on Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Md., Aug. 2, 2015. The ASMC trains to establish a fully functional Role II Medical Treatment Facility as part of the unit's annual training. (Photo by Army National Guard Spc. Allen Griffith)
Fox said he wanted the MASCAL exercise to be completely isolated from the rest of the base. In an effort to be self-sustained and create no impact on the Air Force base, all meals were created on-site, they brought their own showers and bathroom facilities, slept in tents and brought in water with their own trucks. This ensures that the unit would be able to maintain operations anywhere, in any situation.
Through simulated medical scenarios, 1st Army, 4th Calvary Soldiers evaluated the 104th ASMC's Mission Essential Task List, which will show their higher headquarters they are ready for real-world missions. By training in emergency medical treatment, ground ambulance evacuations and casualty evacuations with Black Hawk helicopters, the medical company is prepared to support up to 5,000 service members in self-sustainable emergency medical urgent care.
In addition to scenario-based training, the unit is also providing real-world medical support during the exercise. The 70th Training Regiment from Camp Fretterd Military Reservation conducted phase three of Officer Candidate School with the support of the 104th's ambulances and medical care. The ambulance personnel provided 24-hour support for two locations with times available to treat officers in the morning and evening.
There's more than just needles and stretchers available here. Other resources include dental, behavioral health, social work, X-rays and a laboratory. They all work together to assist each patient with the best care possible.
Maj. Stafford Conley, Army dentist on loan from the Maryland State Medical Detachment, says that half the people he sees are anxious when they come to him for treatment and that allows him to hear more than he expects.
“Everyone's nervous and just starts talking about personal stuff,” said Conley.
One Soldier came in to get his cavity filled, but as Conley listened to his problems, he realized this Soldier needed to talk to the behavioral health provider as well.
This year the 104th ASMC was in the field, but next summer they are planning to spend their annual training in a hospital on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Their unit status report is only good for a year, so next year 1st Army will be there again to evaluate and rate their readiness.
By Army National Guard SSgt. Mitchell Miller
Provided through DVIDS
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