Marines, sailors with BSRF-14 execute drill to sustain medical capabilities
By Lance Cpl. Krista James
| | October 17, 2013
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania --
Marines and sailors with Black Sea Rotational Force 14 participated in a mass-casualty drill to further educate and prepare junior sailors, combat-lifesaver certified Marines, and Marines in the Quick Reaction Force at Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania, Oct. 14, 2013.
The drill started when Marines playing soccer encountered a simulated suicide bomber. The initial “blast” injured 36 Marines. Corpsmen with BSRF-14 immediately implemented their mass-casualty protocol. After triaging and treating injured Marines, a corpsman called in a “9-line” report, which is nine different parts of information used for a medical evacuation. Following the report, Marines were evacuated to the Battalion Aid Station for further treatment.
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Michael Boeji, a corpsman with BSRF-14 and Salem, Va., native, said that this particular drill was very important for the sailors to be able to perform under stress.
“You have many casualties and that’s people’s lives in your hands,” said Boeji. “If you’re not ready for anything then you’re dealing with a lot of casualties that may not make it. It may be life or death.”
First Lieutenant Michael Phillips, a platoon commander with BSRF-14 and Cleveland native, said that the drill was important because it was as realistic as possible for both Marines and sailors.
“It [was] a realistic scenario to test overall readiness for our [corpsmen], and it also outlines the possibilities of enemies about to attack at any time,” said Phillips.
Being able to implement mass-casualty protocol at any given moment will directly affect BSRF-14’s mission of being the crisis-contingency force in the Eastern European region.
Both Boeji and Phillips expressed their opinions on the highlights of the drill.
“The best part was how well all of the corpsmen involved in this [drill] reacted to the situation,” said Boeji. “By that I mean how quickly they got down to the scene, how fast they conducted treatment and how quickly they got [Marines] to a higher echelon of care.”
“For me, because I preach it, it was the constant state-of-readiness and watching,” said Phillips. “Basically that everyone is always watching and always on the alert. The reality of a completely unpredicted strike was the best part.”
Phillips said there is always a need for improvement and the drill was successful overall.
“It was the first time that we did it and I think [everyone] responded very well,” said Phillips. “I think that the BAS and our Marine combat lifesavers seemed like they were properly triaging the casualties from a dynamic situation. They were handling themselves pretty well.”
“Everyone looking back on themselves can always refine and get better. It’s not a check in the box, it’s much higher than that,” said Phillips.
At the end of the day, Boeji and Phillips both agreed that the drill was beneficial for both Marines and sailors, and that continuing to perform these drills will make them second nature.
“There was really no bad part [of the drill], because it’s training, so everything that happens is always a positive thing,” said Boeji.
“It’ll benefit the Marines because we had combat-lifesaver certified Marines out there who needed practice along with our corpsmen,” said Boeji. “It showed them how quickly in a mass casualty [event] that everyone can lose their mind and that it can be hectic.”
Continued performance of drills will forge a successful team within BSRF-14 unit cohesion and implicit communication will develop with time and practice.
“It’s a matter of the team working together, [as in the] CLS Marines and corpsmen, working together through adversity and a very ambiguous situation,” said Phillips.
Along with crisis contingency, BSRF-14 also strives to promote regional stability and security, increase military capacity and interoperability, and maintain partnerships within the Eastern European region.