Photo Information

Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyrone Kimbrough, a corpsman with Alpha Company, 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, checks a simulated casualty for injuries during a medical exercise aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept. 24, 2014. During the exercise, the corpsmen practiced stabilizing casualties for evacuation under stressful conditions to imitate situations they may experience in combat. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Olivia C. McDonald/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Olivia C. McDonald

Lives on line; 2nd Medical Battalion prepares for trauma care

1 Oct 2014 | Cpl. Jorden Wells The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Trauma teams with Alpha and Bravo Companies, 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group battled against the clock during their three-day mass-casualty simulation aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Sept. 22 to 24. 

Medical personnel rushed casualties into the tent straight from a notional battlefield. Role players simulating everything from deep lacerations and head trauma, to missing limbs and psychological distress added a layer of chaos to the training. 

“It is chaotic … communication may be difficult in situation, but that’s why we’re training,” said Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin Davis, a general surgeon with the battalion. “We don’t want our Marines and sailors to be in a forward position taking casualties and not knowing what to do.”

Unit personnel set up tents to triage patients and organize medical supplies. Instructors then walked the battalion’s corpsmen though the process of receiving and treating casualties before releasing a wave of simulated injuries on the unit to test its readiness.

The exercise helped prepare the corpsmen to serve in shock trauma platoons, where teamwork in a deployed environment is key to overcoming the chaotic reality of treating injured personnel coming from combat zones, noted Petty Officer 2nd Class Quinton Smith, a corpsman with 2nd Medical Bn. 

Shock trauma platoons are often the first line of medical care wounded receive after their initial treatment in the field. Maintaining and improving a high-degree of effectiveness at that level of care is an imperative training objective within the battalion.

“It is very important for many of the corpsmen who have not deployed before to know what type of injuries they might encounter,” said Smith, a Greensborough, North Carolina, native. “It may not be a situation they have encountered before, so during the chaos you want more muscle memory.”

The simulated casualties came in with realistic prosthetic wounds. The corpsmen carried them on stretchers to the triage center, where they determined the seriousness of the injuries and assessed what needed to be done next. After their initial care was complete, the patients were loaded into the evacuation vehicle for follow-on treatment. 

“Our main function is to stabilize the injury, stabilize the casualty, send them over to a surgical room to get further treatment, and get [them] evacuated to a higher echelon of care,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Frankie Segura, an instructor with 2nd Medical Bn. 

The instructors’ work with the corpsmen was a step up from the skills learned at their basic corpsman and field medicine schools, noted Segura, an Eagle Pass, Texas, native. Many of the newer training and treatment techniques have also proven effective in improving patient recovery and will allow the corpsmen to continue honing their specialties toward ever higher standards.