Exercise, exercise, exercise: Operation Joint Medic tests combat casualty care skills in realistic setting

  • Published
  • By by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
4/10/2015 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Twenty-seven casualties with various simulated injuries lie embedded among the rocky, mountainous terrain of a remote exercise site here during Operation Joint Medic held March 20 through April 4.

The joint medical exercise began with a "bang" as Airmen and Soldiers arrived on a bus as an injured individual waved them down and beats on the side pleading for help.

The simulated mass casualty event forced medical professionals to treat and evaluate the injured with minimal resources while simulating being under enemy fire.

"Operation Joint Medic allowed approximately 80 Airmen of the 926th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii,) 66th Rescue Squadron, and Soldiers from the Medical Detachment of the Guam Army National Guard an opportunity to conduct a medical readiness training exercise designed to test combat casualty care skills in a realistic setting," said Maj. Zachary Timko, 926th AMDS director of administration and clinical operations.

The medics simulated treatment for minor injuries like cuts to more severe injuries like severed limbs.

"The unique environment that Nellis Air Force Base provides, in this case the Nevada Test and Training Range's simulated village that emulates other desert communities we deploy to, does not locally exist for the Guam or Hawaii personnel to train in," said Col. Ross Anderson, 926th Wing commander.

Exercise participants also simulated receiving injured patients in critical care through air support. This portion of the exercise required members of the 66th RQS to escort critical care patients and land an HH-60G Pave Hawk in a rocky, desert terrain while medics received the patients and provided care.

"The ability to exercise, under one location, tactical casualty care from battlefield injuries to stabilized care ready for transport is tremendous," said Anderson. "Our partnership with the Guam National Guard, Hawaii reservists, and active duty rescue squadron provided a realistic training opportunity directly attributable to current ongoing contingencies."

Training like this offers military components the opportunity to work together and understand each other's capabilities.

"This exercise is the first of what we hope is many.  All of the participants were able to get valid and immediately applicable experience," said Anderson. "It's this type of joint combat medical training that ensures American forces make it home alive."