Casualty training integrates joint, multinational relations at Northern Strike 19

110th Wing
Story by Senior Airman Gary Leonard
Date: 07.23.2019

ALPENA, Michigan — Into the dark, the Joint Military Medical Team (JMMT) from U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and Latvian Air Force participate in a group exercise to simulate training while under artillery fire to recover casualties at Alpena Combat Readiness Center, Mich., July 23, 2019, as joint operations utilize proper protocol to rescue casualties inside close quarters.

Members of the Joint Military Medical Team (Colorado National Guard, Michigan Air National Guard, and Latvian National Armed Forces) simulate close-quarters casualty training at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., July 23, 2019.
Northern Strike 19 is a National Guard Bureau-sponsored exercise uniting service members from more than 20 states, multiple service branches and numerous coalition countries during the last two weeks of July 2019 at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, both located in northern Michigan and operated by the Michigan National Guard. The accredited Joint National Training Capability exercise demonstrates the Michigan National Guard’s ability to provide accessible, readiness-building opportunities for military units from all service branches to achieve and sustain proficiency in conducting mission command, air, sea and ground maneuver integration, together with the synchronization of fires in a joint, multinational, decisive action environment (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Gary Leonard).

The ambulance arrives on-scene with urgency to search the area, assess the situation and protect any casualties. The JMMT started with a Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) simulation, allowing the team to take protective measures as they recognize the type of contingent and how to treat the patient during chemical warfare.

“Trust your training,” said Senior Airman Nicholas Brohl, 110th Medical Group, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Michigan. “There are many challenges so you have to be on top of your game while the chaos is going on. Know your role, keep a level head, have your gear, and accomplish your goal.”

Inside an eery and confined space, the readiness exercise continues as the medical unit begins an evacuation and treatment operation.

“Lack of vision puts stress on the team,” said Cpl. Javis Grigalis, Search and Rescue specialist, Latvian Air Force. “That is why working together, safety and knowing the best steps going forward while managing the scene is a high priority.”

As they dash into the pitch-black building to look for casualties for initial treatment, the group begins to search for, treat and care for any casualties that were found.

“We rely on communication,” said Spc. Megan Braida, Combat Medical Specialist, 928th Army Support Medical Company (ASMC), Colorado National Guard. “If you are not communicating with the person next to you nothing is going to get done. You are each other’s hands, eyes, and ears.”

After treating the casualties, they continue to evacuate them on a stretcher as they are put through the only escape route available — a tunnel. The tight squeeze doesn’t phase the mission as the group carefully brings the patients safely outside. Eventually, four patients end up at the casualty collection point set up by the team.

“These are real-life scenarios,” said Spc. Kelsey Thomas, Combat Medical Specialist, 928th ASMC, Colorado National Guard. “A building could get bombed by artillery and you have to go into dark confined spaces where you don’t have any light but a glow-stick.”

As the training opportunity comes to a close, the team discussed what happened, how the training is essential and steps to take to improve next time.

“Mission complete,” said Braida after looking back through the readiness exercises. “The preparation was very informative and we worked well together as a team. Going forward we have the knowhow. This is my first time at Northern Strike 19, and it was a great opportunity to do some cross-training and do things I have never done before, so I can pass it on.”

Northern Strike 19 is a National Guard Bureau-sponsored exercise uniting service members from more than 20 states, multiple service branches, and seven coalition countries during the last two weeks of July 2019 at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, both located in northern Michigan and operated by the Michigan National Guard. The accredited Joint National Training Capability exercise demonstrates the Michigan National Guard’s ability to provide accessible, readiness-building opportunities for military units from all service branches to achieve and sustain proficiency in conducting mission command, air, sea and ground maneuver integration, together with the synchronization of fires in a joint, multinational, decisive action environment.

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/333008/casualty-training-integrates-joint-multinational-relations-northern-strike-19

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