US Marine Corps, October 07, 2014 - US COAST GUARD AIR STATION SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. by Lance Cpl Caitlin Bevel – Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 1st Marine Logistics Group, kicked off San Francisco Fleet Week 2014 with a simulated casualty evacuation by members of the Shock Trauma Platoon along the San Francisco Bay, Oct. 6.
During Fleet Week, military personnel will work side by side with their civilian counterparts to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that threaten public safety, infrastructure and health.
“San Francisco has the San Andreas Fault Line so there’s a high likelihood of an earthquake,” said Capt. Chris Conklin, an MV-22 Osprey pilot with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165, Marine Aircraft Group 16. “We’re out here meeting the people that hopefully we won’t have to work with, but if we do we’ll be prepared for it.”
The STP is specifically designed to triage casualties in the field and then provide more extensive medical care from a more stable facility after evacuation.
“What we’re doing is taking the basic Shock Trauma Platoon and breaking it up to make it more portable,” said Lt. Cdr. Brian Dimmer, an emergency doctor from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We put the doc on the transport to take the resuscitative care directly to the patient.”
After boarding an MV-22 Osprey at Moffet Federal Airfield, Mountain View, California, the corpsmen flew to the Coast Guard air station where they stabilized an actor pretending to be injured and loaded him into the aircraft which had been set up specifically for medical evacuations.
Due to its versatility and maneuverability, the MV-22s are the best suited platform capable of supporting emergency relief and recovery requirements unique to San Francisco area in events of natural disaster. It can fly faster and farther than a helicopter and curry up to 12 patients at a time.
“It’s a stripped down ER being brought to the patient,” said Lt. Cdr. David Weltch, an emergency trauma nurse with Health Services Support, 1st MLG. “The Osprey is so stable you can easily start an IV on the aircraft.”
The MV-22 had medical equipment for triage and immediate treatment for extreme trauma, including the new electronic-free system which allows the corpsmen to bring blood to the casualties for transfusions while they are still being evacuated.
“Typically, you anticipate a mission coming so the aircraft is already configured, and we’re talking minutes to get there and start treating the patient,” said Weltch.
After the casualty evacuation exercise, the corpsmen drove to San Francisco General Hospital where they set up tents in the parking lot for the STP and Forward Resuscitative Surgical Suite. This is where the casualty from the exercise would have been taken for continued treatment.
The temporary facility will be open to the public Oct. 6-7 to showcase the extensive medical capabilities the military can add to existing facilities in case of large scale disasters.