Corpsmen conduct MASCAS exercise on Tinian

by Lance Cpl. Luis Ramirez
Valiant Shield 2014

TINIAN, North Marianas Islands – Corpsmen with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 participating in Valiant Shield 2014 conducted a mass casualty (MASCAS) drill here Sept. 10 in anticipation of the commencement of the exercise.

The MASCAS drill tests the capabilities and knowledge of the field medical staff to be able to provide medical services from the treatment of common illnesses to critical medical evacuations.    

According to Navy Lt. David Bolthouse, the medical officer for MWSS-171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, the goal was to simulate wartime chaos and push the medical team to the limit, “while at the same time testing the dispatch and flightline’s ability to get someone on an aircraft and en route to a medical facility in, case of serious injuries.”

According to Bolthouse, drills like the MASCAS help iron out any communication problems before the start of an exercise and allow for more fluid movements in case of an actual emergency.

“One of the most challenging parts of these drills is time management,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Travis Pullen, a preventive medicine technician. “During the drill, it’s all practice. However, in a real emergency we have to be able to treat everybody in a timely manner without overlooking any injuries.”

Events like this help corpsmen refine their skills and gain confidence in their actions.

“My team did an outstanding job,” said Bolthhouse. “They were calm, cool and collected. They didn’t stray from their training, and they provided expedient care to those who came in today.”

With the drill completed, Bolthouse said he has full faith that his medical team is ready for any emergency that might happen during their time in Tinian.

Valiant Shield, which is slated to take place from Sept. 15-23, is a U.S.-only exercise integrating U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps assets, offering joint operational experience to develop capabilities that provide a full range of options to defend U.S. interests and those of its allies and partners.

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