View Full Version : Navy ‘med techs’ join battle; FSSG warriors ready to deploy

02-07-03, 11:49 AM
Cpl. G. Lane Miley
Combat Correspondent

“Just in time” training - that is how 2d Medical Battalion Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Benjamin G. Feril, refers to the evolution many local naval officers and corpsmen completed Monday.

Sailors from 2d Force Service Support Group and augmentation personnel from Naval hospitals along the East Coast joined forces with the Army and Marines to polish their operational skills. During the week-long process, the service members incorporated nuclear, biological and chemical warfare training; tested the latest medical equipment and discussed the effects of various altitudes on patients and complications caused by the stress of flying.

“This is important training and something we all need to keep in the forefront of our minds,” said Lt. Kevin R. Poole, a physician’s assistant at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, referring to the hands-on helicopter evacuating simulations. “I have done this before, but not for seven or eight years. This is important in case we’re called upon.”

Lt. Mark D. Day, 2d Med. Bn. training officer, said the battalion relies greatly on augmentation personnel to complete its missions in the field - so much that a normal surgical company consists of 50-to-60 personnel and with added augments, the numbers round out at 206-220.
“Some of the surgeons have done this training within the year, some within two years, but some have never done it,” said Day, a Virginia Beach, Va., native. “As the training officer for the battalion, it is my job to ensure they (the augments) are trained to the utmost.”

With many 2d FSSG units scheduled to deploy this month, Day said the training will continue until the battalion deploys because of its sheer importance. He feels it is better to expose the surgeons to possible situations in the U.S. rather than wait until they are overseas.

A Southfield, Mich., native, Poole said everyone understands how grave the possibility is they will deploy to support Central Command, and they are paying closer attention now than with other exercises.

“The timing now is extremely important,” he said. “Everyone has a sense of urgency. They are really paying attention instead of just going through the motions.”

Army Sgt. William D. Vanputte introduced the corpsmen and doctors to the latest piece of medical gear, the “SMEED.” The New York, native, came from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to show the corpsmen and surgeons the simplicity of the new stretcher. It’s designed for long aerial evacuations and comes equipped with a metal frame over the patient’s legs with places for a ventilator, heart monitor, and suction IV (intravenous fluid) pump. The respiratory therapist explained how the electronic equipment can be interchanged on the frame and that each piece has batteries that last for hours. Everything simply plugs in the aircraft's power sources, he said.

Day said the SMEED is designed for longer evacuations than he expects his corpsmen will utilize, but said it is good that they get some hands on, just in case.

“For many of these sailors it was their first time utilizing these field skills, but it has definitely been a good learning experience,” Day praised. “Everyone has done well. They have been in good spirits, they are paying a lot of attention and they are spending the extra time to ensure they are the best.”