US Army, Navy, Air Force Conduct Joint Mass Casualty Combat Exercise

Three branches of the US military have joined forces for a mass casualty combat exercise near the Gowen Field Air National Guard Base in Idaho.

During the drill, soldiers, airmen, and sailors were given different tasks on how to properly and effectively treat or move their wounded comrades while taking heavy fire.

Several UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Idaho Army National Guard also participated in the drill, responding to medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) requests from the simulated combat zone.

Soldiers not directly attending to casualties provided cover fire and used thick red smoke to conceal the movements of the medical team.

When in the MEDEVAC choppers, the Army’s Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) stabilized the casualties until they reached a higher echelon of care.

“The main focus of this joint services training was to all come together, learn each other’s jobs, and create multi-capable soldiers, airmen, and sailors on top of learning how to respond in mass casualty scenarios,” function area manager Senior Master Sgt. Davis Nguyen said.

‘Under Mental, Physical Stress’

Prior to the drills, airmen from the 124th Fighter Wing provided combat lessons on 360-degree security, care under fire, and tactical movements with red smoke concealment.

Colin Yates, an Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training instructor, created realistic wounds on role players for a more real-world training experience.

Sailors from the Navy Operational Support Center provided the needed medical logistics support for the simulated deployment location.

mass casualty combat exercise
A US airman from the 366th Medical Group conducts Tactical Combat Casualty Care on the battlefield. Photo: Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/US Air National Guard

Nguyen explained that all preparations were done to efficiently evaluate soldiers’ ability to perform medical care while under mental and physical stress.

CCATT physician Maj. Mark Urban said the training exercise helps the three military branches to interact with each other and speak each other’s languages, especially when taking care of the wounded during conflict.

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