Soldiers from the 141st and 142nd Medical Companies and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 169th Aviation Regiment conducted a joint medical evacuation training event at Stones Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme, Connecticut, May 17. The medics faced multiple scenarios in how to safely transport and treat casualties in a field environment, including transport casualties using both ground and air evacuation.
The scenario for the training began with Soldiers from the 141st and 142nd medical companies receiving casualties that they transported to another side of Stones Ranch, where they performed an ambulance exchange moving the patients from one ambulance to another. Then they travelled to the field medical treatment facility where one casualty received treatment while another simulated patient was evacuated via a Blackhawk in a hoist operation.
During the patient hoist operation a hook comes down from the helicopter which can hoist up to 600 pounds. The helicopter lowers a basket and the medics load a patient on a spine board and secure the patient for transport. The helicopter crew then raises the basket 250 feet into the aircraft while the Soldiers on the ground hold onto a line to keep the patient and the basket from spinning. For many of the Soldiers of the 141st and 142nd Medical Companies, the hoist operation training was a first.
Staff Sgt. Jesse Stanley, 118th Medical Battalion, said that this was valuable training especially for the younger Soldiers.
“They learned about the assets that we have available. It really helped the younger Soldiers see what air capabilities we have and what we can do out in the field.”
The various medical companies under the 118th Medical Battalion have been conducting many training events with one another and in conjunction with the state’s aviation units.
Sgt. Luke Chreiman, 141st Medical Company, was excited to conduct the training with his unit for the first time.
“This is a fantastic learning experience for me and for the 141st Medical Company in the role of a medical transportation unit, for both overseas operations and specifically for stateside operations – whether it is a hurricane and we need to evacuate patients from danger areas or whether it is a Soldier on the battlefield that you have to remove from a mountaintop.”
Chreiman said that conducting joint exercises like this one is important to overall readiness.
“As a medical evacuation company we have a specific job. By integrating the other medical companies and aviation, our role really comes into its own in a real life situation because you get a chance to work with all these other components of the Army.”
“When we are deployed we have to coordinate with multiple units and multiple services, so learning how to work with all the moving parts is really important in achieving our mission,” said Stanley.
Stanley said that it was important to train with the air capabilities so the Soldiers from the medical companies could see how the helicopters operate with patient care.
“Having them realize those assets is going to give them more confidence on the battlefield. They are also not going to be as timid approaching a helicopter while the rotors are spinning. We got a lot of our Soldiers up in the air, so we broke the ice in a really safe training environment before they might have to do it in real life.”