MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Ind. –
Soldiers of the Army Reserve’s 7303rd Medical Training Support Battalion from Fort Gordon, Georgia, provided Observer Controller/Trainer support to this year’s Guardian Response exercise held April 12 to May 8 at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana.
Guardian Response is an annual exercise designed to prepare Soldiers to respond to national emergencies and disasters. The training reinforces military medical skills while preparing the Department of Defense to work in coordination with local communities during an unforeseen catastrophe.
Col. Joseph Johnson, a member of the 7303rd MTSB, describes a training scenario simulating a disaster that has destroyed infrastructure and requires evacuations of casualties by air and ground.
“Our role is to bring in forces to help assist states and local governments that have been overwhelmed after a natural disaster,” explains Johnson. “Here, the medical task force mission is to save lives and mitigate suffering by bringing in assets, logistics and expert medical care."
Veterinary Detachments are also tested at MUTC to prepare for their direct care mission supporting Department of Defense and Federal Emergency Management Agency search and rescue animals.
MUTC offers unique training opportunities that are not commonly found in the Army, such as a canine medical simulator or “Diesel dog”. This advanced canine simulator replicates a variety of wounds, vital signs, and breathing patterns that are controlled remotely, bringing greater realism to the training.
Staff Sgt. William Nadolski, an OC/T that works with veterinary units and provides training related to food safety, food service, and animal support, explains his role.
"As an OC/T, I am here to enable training. I'm not here to just observe. I'm here to coach, train, and mentor Soldiers on the lessons from other units; whether it be from a previous deployment, or a previous exercises,” said Nadolski.
“We take that experience and share it with Soldiers, so the knowledge isn't lost,” continued Nadowlski. “It is passed from unit to unit so that these best practices can be spread throughout the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, so we can better treat our animals."
Members of the 72nd Medical Detachment from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, were presented a scenario requiring a health check on animals of a local farm.
"Today, we started off working with the large animals,” said Spc. Emily Zygarowski. “We were clipping goat hooves and testing for parasites when we got a call from the decontamination line that a dog needed treatment for potential exposure to toxic chemicals.”
“The dog had a temperature of 106 degrees and was breathing heavily, and had a fast pulse,” Zygarowski explained. “We started cooling measures by putting water on his paw pads and gave him room temperature fluids, reducing his temperature and then moved him to the veterinarian for treatment."
“This training really helps Soldiers work on communication which is key in a medical situation,” said Nadolski. “The medical simulators initiate back-and-forth dialogue to help diagnose the patient in order provide the proper treatment quickly."
“This training experience is about as close as you can get without having to deal with the real thing,” explained Johnson. “Units that going through this tough and realistic training will know that they are ready when the nation calls upon them.”