BOISE, Idaho - Idaho National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and their active-duty counterparts joined forces for a mass casualty exercise Feb. 4 near Gowen Field.
“The best way to grow our mindset of becoming more operational and ready for a deployed environment is to train with the nearby resources, such as the Idaho Army National Guard and our active-duty counterparts,” said Senior Master Sgt. Virginia Holmgren, a respiratory therapist from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Medical Group. “Forming relationships with the other branches helps us to become familiar with each other’s capabilities and to practice working together because when we are in a deployed environment, we will be working with the other branches in the fight.”
Medical personnel from Gowen Field’s 124th Medical Group and active duty personnel with the 366th Medical Group from Mountain Home Air Force Base teamed for several mass casualty events. Medevac Soldiers and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Idaho Army National Guard’s 1st of the 168th Aviation Regiment participated in the medical evacuation scenarios.
“This exercise is a great example of how the Idaho National Guard is committed to the joint warfighting doctrine in support of the National Defense Strategy,” said Brig. Gen. Tim Donnellan, Idaho Air National Guard commander. “The 124th Medical Group coordinated this incredible training using combat-proven units from the Idaho Army National Guard, the Idaho Air National Guard, and the Gunfighters of the 366th Fighter Wing.”
During the scenarios, combat medics treated and stabilized casualties at a medical field tent in a simulated deployed location. Combat medics emphasized tactical combat casualty care to reduce preventable deaths while maintaining operation success.
“With our new DOD guidelines for the TCCC, it requires us to have more hands on deck and for more Airmen to be familiar with trauma care in responding to worse injuries out on the field rather than the typical self-aid and buddy care that we have focused on in the past,” said Senior Master Sgt. Davis Nguyen, the 124th Medical Group function area manager.
Once medics stabilized casualties, they could recognize which patients needed more advanced critical care at a hospital, and they made the 9-Line call for the Black Hawk medevac team. In combat, the 9-Line is an emergency medevac request with an accurate report of combat injuries that is often the difference between life and death.
The ground combat medics and the Black Hawk flight medics worked together to stabilize the casualty in flight until they reached the simulated higher medical care.
Another exercise scenario required protective gear during a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear event. Idaho National Guard Soldiers conducted hoist rescue training, giving Airmen insight into the full range of rescue capabilities of the medevac Soldiers.
“I am proud of the commitment of the men and women in this joint, total force exercise demonstrating the incredible talent and the first-class training capabilities we have here in Idaho,” said Donnellan. “We will continue to maintain our readiness for the immediate fight while preparing for any conflicts of the future.”