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ANA increase medical operations capability through mass casualty exercise

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Months of daily training culminated as soldiers with the 215th Corps Logistics Battalion, Afghan National Army, completed a complex mass casualty evacuation exercise, Sept. 10, 2011, at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan.

Marines and sailors from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) Embedded Partnering Team raised the level of difficulty from the last mass casualty exercise by adding more vehicles and more realistic effects to the exercise.

“We set up a convoy with all the assets a real convoy would have, such as a wrecker truck, an ambulance and supply trucks,” explained Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick L. McElhinney, from Jacksonville, N.C., a hospital corpsman with the EPT. “We are simulating an [improvised explosive device] explosion, but the soldiers don’t know which vehicle is going to detonate it or how many people will be injured.”

Several EPT members waited along the route for the convoy to drive by. As the trucks approached the area, the Marines used smoke and training grenades to simulate the explosion.

“Once they determined the convoy hit an IED, they proceeded to assess the situation,” said 1st Lt. Jake H. Payne, the operations mentor with the EPT. “We are building up from the last exercise we conducted.

“This convoy included people from [the 215th CLB’s] transportation and maintenance company as well as their medics,” Payne explained. “It helps the soldiers see what their actual role is during a convoy when an IED goes off, and allows us to test their knowledge on immediate action drills.”

The EPT members continue to work with troops of the 215th CLB, so in the future they are capable of sustaining themselves while supporting Afghan infantry soldiers operating in Southwestern Afghanistan.

Article by Lance Cpl. Bruno J. Bego, 2nd Marine Logistics Group