Medical Soldiers, Sailors and aviators train together during US Army Reserve CSTX

By Story by Brian Godette | 83rd USARRTC | March 7, 2015

March 7, 2015 — FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. - This year's U.S. Army Combat Support Training Exercise, organized by the 84th Training Command and supported by the 91st Training Division, saw the involvement of the largest joint patient movement and medical field training exercise within the Department of Defense.

The scenario based, pre-operational deployment training environment of CSTX welcomed U.S. Army Reserve units from across the country to train with active duty Army components, California National Guard Soldiers, and Naval expeditionary medical facility Sailors, in joint exercise Global Medic.

Global Medic, which trains more than 15,000 service members, is designed as a casualty evacuation, treatment, patient regulating, and aeromedical evacuation exercise that incorporates real world scenarios and support elements as you would see in theater.

“It's a dynamic situation,” said Sgt. T.J. Hayer, aviation combat medic with F Company 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. “For a lot of people that haven't been involved in anything like this, it's a good way to start warming up to the concept of combat operations and medical evacuations during combat scenarios.”

Soldiers and Sailors are placed at different locations throughout Fort Hunter Liggett and nearby Camp Roberts, a California National Guard training post, where they man forward operating bases for CSTX as they would if forward deployed. 

Throughout the training exercise, the Soldiers and Sailors are introduced to different surprise elements that lead them to react to, and rely on their military occupational specific training to respond.

“What happens is we get attacked, and then all of sudden there will be casualty collection points throughout the FOBs, which prompts the Army Support Medical Company to call out and let us know when to expect the casualties,” said Lt. Col. Michelle LaFleur, commander of the 912th Forward Surgical Team out of Cranston, Rhode Island. “We treat the Soldier and either bring them forward or send them back into the battle.”

This particular scenario saw 40 casualties over a four-hour period, where triage was done outside of the four tents set up by the 912th FST. The casualties came in by level of injury and were designated to the trauma tent, operating/surgical tents, or holding tent, which was supervised by the 456th Area Support Medical Company from Somersworth, New Hampshire.

Soldiers from the 912th FST and 456th ASMC, who are organized under the 804th Medical Brigade, provided care to designated casualties, who were played by active duty Soldiers. A total of 17 Navy corpsmen from the Expeditionary Medical Facility out of Dallas/Fort Worth, also participated, augmenting the medical Soldiers and assisting in casualty care and transport on liters.

“This is my first time working with the Army, and it's giving me a chance to see how they do things and for them to see how we do things, so it's a really good educational opportunity,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Voiri, with EMF Dallas.

The joint operation helped develop the working relationship between forces, as is similar to that in deployment scenarios.

“It definitely looks like a coalition force when people come to the aircraft to extract patients,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Adrian Gabriel Wilbert, medical evacuation pilot with F Company 7th Battalion, 158 Aviation Regiment. “It's been a good experience, having a crawl, walk, run phase at this training, getting everyone familiar with the operations.”

“It's a good thing to get all the services together, since we all have the same training and know the same stuff,” said Hayer. “Every time I've gone out to one of the FOBs and unloaded I've seen that everyone works hand in hand, with good communication and integration, and it's a really good way to prepare the force for the future.”

The medical element on ground and in air highlighted a total force partnership, displaying the effectiveness of several units like the 912th FST, 456th ASMC, 10th Combat Support Hospital, 399th Command Support Hospital and others, collaborating with the Naval Expeditionary Medical Facility to complete the mission.