Marines, corpsmen participate in medical evacuation drill
OJOJIHARA MANEUVER AREA, Japan -- Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, conducted a field medical evacuation drill Feb. 16 at the Ojojihara Maneuver Area on mainland Japan as part of Artillery Relocation Training Program 12-4.
The medical evacuation drill is regularly scheduled training prior to the beginning of live-fire artillery exercises such as ARTP 12-4 to assess the battalion’s ability to treat injuries in a field environment while allowing medical personnel to develop skills for emergencies.
“Being basic corpsmen, our personnel have much to learn during field operations such as this,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Suraj Trivedi, medical officer for 3rd Bn., 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Training in the climate and environment here at the maneuver area gives them an opportunity to enhance their techniques and experience weather and terrain they don’t typically operate in.”
The corpsmen have been through medical courses to deal with common injuries in the field, so making the drill as realistic as possible was very important, Trivedi added.
During the drill, corpsmen were presented with various scenarios involving simulated casualties with injuries such as broken bones or concussions they were required to assess, treat, and transport to the next level of care.
“The drill was great training for us and very challenging,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Boddy, a corpsman with the battalion. “It allowed us to think and act outside of normal procedures we are accustomed to.”
The corpsmen worked in conjunction with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force for transportation of the simulated casualties from the maneuver area to a local hospital.
“The drill benefits everyone participating in ARTP 12-4,” said Trivedi. “The Marines learn how to respond to emergency situations, while the corpsmen worked with Japanese forces to practice organizational skills and procedures for treating patients and casualties.”
The exercise gave the corpsmen an opportunity to display their abilities and proficiency in a field environment.
“It was very impressive to see the professionalism and proficiency the corpsmen exhibited,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Lovern, the operational stress control and readiness psychiatrist for 3rd Marine Division. “They identified several potential trouble areas, and the medical staff worked together to overcome them, which is a very important ability to develop when conducting bilateral training.”
The drill was a great way for the Marines, corpsmen and Japanese forces to work together while ensuring the corpsmen are ready to treat casualties in the field, Trivedi added
“Because of the necessity of field-ready corpsmen during these exercises, our goal is to run this drill more often during training on Okinawa,” said Trivedi. “It will give the Marines and corpsmen more opportunities to develop skills before going on exercises.”