Corpsmen practice flight casualty evacuation drills
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Marines and sailors with 3rd Medical Battalion conducted casualty evacuation training with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772 Nov. 7–8 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Camp Foster.
The service members loaded and unloaded simulated casualties from CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters at MCAS Futenma during the first day of training and were evaluated on their skills the second.
“We are out here teaching our corpsmen and Marines how to properly load a casualty onto a helicopter,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class David B. Wright, the assistant lead petty officer for Company A, 3rd Med. Bn., 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “This is an important skill that every corpsman needs to know because we never know when an airlift will be needed.”
The HMH-772 aircrew taught the corpsmen how to properly board a helicopter and secure a casualty-laden stretcher in the helicopter.
“Training like this is vital to mission success,” said Staff Sgt. Derek Torrellas, a helicopter crew chief with HMH-772, currently assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF, under the unit deployment program. “It’s important that if we ever get called in for support of a casualty, that the corpsmen know the proper procedures to help get (the casualty) to the proper treatment as soon as possible.”
The service members were also given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with riding in the helicopters, taking short flights following the successful loading of the simulated casualty.
“The training we received was extremely informative,” said Lance Cpl. Fernando Villalpandotejeda, a motor vehicle operator with the battalion. “Learning how to board a helicopter, load and unload a casualty, and how to properly provide security during a casualty evacuation … was very helpful.”
During the second day, the Marines and sailors trained for a mass-casualty situation at Camp Foster, and were evaluated on how long it took to set up a battalion-level aid station, before treating simulated casualties.
“The purpose of the mass-casualty drill is to use all of our resources and (prepare for any) ‘what-if’ situations,” said Wright. “If one occurs, we have to ensure we are fully capable and ready to do whatever we can by using all of our resources.”
With the training completed, the service members walked away better prepared for future operations.
“It’s not always going to be easy when we are in the field,” said Wright. “Getting (ready for) the madness now will make us better prepared for future operations to come. I feel extremely confident in my fellow corpsmen with the new knowledge they gained, and (I) am sure they will be a great asset in the future.”