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Harpers Ferry, Royal Thai Navy Practice Medicine Together

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070629-09
Release Date: 6/29/2007 12:10:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark Alvarez, USS Harpers Ferry Public Affairs

GULF OF THAILAND (NNS) -- Dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) played a multifaceted role in a joint Royal Thai Marine and U.S. Marine amphibious raid exercise June 25 as a part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2007.

CARAT is an annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises between the United States and six Southeast Asia nations designed to build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces.

Harpers Ferry acted as the staging point for the raid, launching combat rubber raiding craft with 40 Royal Thai Marines and 15 Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group to engage in a practice raid neutralizing a terrorist base of operations.

As a part of the comprehensive exercise, there was a simulated casualty during the raid. The Royal Thai Navy launched an SH-60 Seahawk helicopter to recover Royal Thai Marine Sgt. Samathi Paochareon, who suffered a simulated gunshot wound to the abdomen, and bring him to Harpers Ferry.

“I was amazed at how fast the Navy medical personnel responded to the situation and got me into treatment,” said Paochareon. “If I were to ever get injured in the field, I would want them to be the ones who would help me.”

Paochareon was met on the flight deck by Harpers Ferry’s emergency medical response team, comprised of a hospital corpsman second class and four stretcher-bearers from other ratings.

“This exercise helps to show how everyone is involved in CARAT as a whole,” said Yeoman Seaman Apprentice Alex J. Werner. “I spend my days in the captain’s office doing paperwork, but as a stretcher bearer I have a chance to play an active role in this multinational, multiservice CARAT exercise.”

The stretcher bearers moved Paochareon to Harpers Ferry’s Main Battle Dressing Station (BDS), located in the ship’s medical ward, to triage the patient. There they simulated giving him intravenous fluid, assessing his wounds and other important procedures performed when treating a patient with an abdominal wound.

“It was good interoperability with the Royal Thai helicopter, the Royal Thai Marines, the Royal Thai medical ship riders, to see how we do things,” said Harpers Ferry Medical Doctor Lt. Terrence M. Kilfoil. “I hope they can take some of our protocols and implement them in the Royal Thai Navy and Marines, maybe save some lives.”

This exercise was also a chance for Harpers Ferry to train its medical personnel in an unusual scenario. Once Paochareon was in the Main BDS, Kilfoil directed and quizzed his corpsmen in the proper procedures for treating the patient, giving them more valuable training.

Harpers Ferry is the flagship for CARAT 2007 with Commander Destroyer Squadron 1, Capt. Al Collins, embarked on board.

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