April 5, 2012
By Sgt. Joshua Holt
FORT STEWART, Ga. — Several small explosions from simulated artillery rounds signaled the beginning of a mass casualty exercise for the Dog Face Soldiers of Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Third Infantry Division, April 3.
The mass casualty exercise, or MASCAL, was conducted during Mission Rehearsal Exercise Unified Endeavor 12-02 at Evans Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Soldiers participating in UE12-02 were given a sealed envelope containing a casualty card. No one knew what their role would be in the exercise until the simulated artillery rounds exploded and the command “Witch Doctor” was given, signaling them to open their envelope.
Soldiers identified as first responders, by the card in their envelope, immediately began to assess the simulated casualties and provide the appropriate first aid before moving them to a casualty collection point. Once the “wounded” had been stabilized, they were transported to the Battalion Aid Station for further evaluation and treatment by the medics.
“I believe every Soldier, in some way, knows what they need to do inherently,” said Pfc. Reine Herrera, imagery analyst, Operations Company, DHHB, Third ID. “But when you are actually put in a situation that mimics it, you really rely on your training.”
The intent of the MASCAL exercise is to allow Soldiers to practice their skill in first aid and buddy care, in this case during a replicated indirect-fire attack.
“It shows us how to prepare for chaos,” Sgt. Linsey McCray, a medical sergeant from Headquarters Support Company, DHHB, 3rd ID. “The point behind doing a MASCAL exercise is to be prepared and train our Soldiers in the event that a real mass casualty event does occur.”
Once at the aid station, the casualties were triaged by medical professionals and received further treatment for their injuries. Casualties requiring medical evacuation were then loaded into an ambulance and taken to a waiting UH-60 Black Hawk.
“It has a lot of moving pieces, not just from the medical aspect — a lot of it is about accountability,” said McCray. “The point behind a mass casualty exercise is to be prepared and train our Soldiers.”