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BOXESG Trains For Mass Casualty Scenario

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061208-06
Release Date: 12/8/2006 11:39:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Valcarcel, USS Boxer Public Affairs

ABOARD USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) tested its medical response capabilities during a series of mass casualty drills from Nov. 27 to 30.

The drills tested Boxer’s medical team and Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5’s ability to work together to treat wounded Sailors and Marines delivered to the ship via Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and helicopter.

“Training is the best way to maintain our skills,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW) Stephen Richardson, Boxer’s medical department leading chief petty officer. “Lives depend on us doing our job successfully.”

The drills required constant teamwork under pressure. Senior medical personnel evaluated how well the wounded were treated and moved to the next level of care.

“It takes practice and coordination,” said Cmdr. (Dr.) Lloyd G. Burgess, Boxer’s senior medical officer. “Communication is vital to give our patients the best care possible.”

During the drills, “walking blood banks” were activated. Walking blood banks are Sailors and Marines who have volunteered to donate blood during an emergency.

“It’s been a while since we’ve incorporated the walking blood bank into a drill,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jennifer Gabbard. “They were added into the training to stress the importance of their role.”

For some Sailors, it was their first time participating in a mass casualty scenario.

“It was all new to me and moved really fast,” said Hospital Corpsman Joseph Moral, dental assistant. “It’s controlled chaos; everyone has to be in the right place at the right time.”

Boxer’s clinic is designed to provide medical care to Marines returning from combat and to treat their injuries. The facility also supports humanitarian assistance and non-combatant evacuation operations around the globe.

“Our mission is to respond to emergencies,” said Lt. Jet Ramos, Boxer’s medical administration officer. “Other ships in BOXESG have much less medical capabilities, so we have to be prepared to be able to treat casualties that they can’t.”

Drills and training help ensure medical personnel stay sharp, while ensuring Sailors’ and Marines’ medical needs are met. Future drills are scheduled to maintain medical readiness throughout the rest of deployment.

Boxer is the flagship for Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group, which is currently operating in the Persian Gulf conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in support of U.S. 5th Fleet. MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the North Persian Gulf and protect Iraq’s sea-based infrastructure to help provide the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility area of responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million spare miles and includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 27 countries, includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

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