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ROK-U.S. Medical Leaders Create CASEVAC Plan for FE 07

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070403-13
Release Date: 4/3/2007 7:14:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Adam R. Cole, Task Force 76 Public Affairs

USS ESSEX (NNS) -- U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) medical officers in support of the Foal Eagle Amphibious Task Force (FE-ATG) created for the first time a combined casualty evacuation plan (CASEVAC) during an amphibious landing on Mallipo Beach, March 29.

Medical officers from both sides agreed that the plan was necessary to ensure safety of all personnel and were glad that the plan could come together in collaborative fashion.

“I think we both recognized that we needed a combined plan, so that our forces would be able to assist their forces in case of injury and vice versa,” said Cmdr. Robert J. Hallmark, a Navy doctor and officer in charge of Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 7. “The end result achieved just that, and we were able to learn greatly about each other’s medical capabilities in the process.”

The leading medical officer for the ROK Navy, Capt. Ji hoon Baek with the ROK Marine Corps Regimental Landing Team (RLT) 2, said that he was, “satisfied with the CASEVAC” plan and noted that it would better aid ROK Marines when needed.

Under the CASEVAC plan, medical officials from both forces designed a standard operating procedure for ground forces that would alert a central authority of the casualty, regardless of which nation’s service member was injured. If a casualty were to occur, information was available to direct action for that person, whether it be transportation to a local hospital for ROK personnel or back to USS Essex (LHD 2) or USS Juneau (LPD 10) for U.S. personnel; both ships being Level II and Level I treatment centers.

After a combined plan was put into motion, Hallmark and his team, together with Baek and his staff, created ‘smart cards,’ in both English and Hangul, so members of both forces could understand the instructions.

The idea was first put to charge by Col. John L. Mayer, the commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, who wanted to ensure that both sides could cooperate to help each other if required.

“We share a warrior bond with our counterparts and also a necessity to take care of each other on the battlefield, that includes medical services,” said Mayer. “I am very impressed by the plan that was created and look forward to seeing more medical integration in the future.”

Also, in terms of integration, Hallmark gave an extensive tour of the Essex medical facilities, rated as one of the best in the Navy next to medical-designated ships, to a prospective commanding officer (PCO) of what will be the ROK Navy’s first amphibious assault ship like Essex. The PCO was very impressed with what he saw, said Hallmark.

“I feel, as a senior medical officer, that I have a duty to share knowledge about our processes and capabilities with our allies of the ROK,” said Hallmark. “I think we all have a resolve to help each other and learn form each other, so that we can better help the Marines and Sailors that are on the ground conducting operations.”

Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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