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Sailors Get Hyper-Realistic Medical Training During Seahawk 2007

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070901-05
Release Date: 9/1/2007 8:18:00 AM

By Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Michelle E. Rhonehouse, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Sailors from around the country took part in medical special effects and simulations, also known as hyper-realistic training during Exercise Seahawk 2007 from Aug. 13-24.

This medical simulation capability is unique in the training world and goes well beyond typical techniques. Strategic Operations calls it “wound creation science.”

Wound make-up artists create scores of realistic wounds and simulations using state-of-the-art next generation special effects giving military medical personnel trauma care training under realistic combat field scenarios.

The training area is set in the center of a movie lot which comes complete with a three-dimensional interactive environment, including fully furnished field medical facilities, that resembles an Iraqi city filled with Iraqi role players and mock armed insurgents.

“My goal is to make the role-players look as authentic as possible,” said Jeff Barkley, wound make-up effects artist. “If these Sailors are put into real situations that require medical attention to this degree, realistic training such as this will improve the chance that they will feel better prepared.”

In a typical scenario, war fighters train with simulated AK-47 fire, rocket propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices. Very basic trauma care is rendered under fire in realistic combat conditions. The goal is to train everyone to become a first responder.

“If something happens to the corpsman in a squadron, the rest of the team needs to know what to do,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jeromy Ortega from Naval School Health Sciences. “This hyper-realistic training prepares them for any situation that would require immediate medical attention until a doctor or corpsman could help.”

Hyper-realistic life-support challenges include pneumothorax management, uncontrolled bleeding, burns, blast injuries and penetrating eye injuries, as well as lacerations and embedded foreign objects. The wounds with active bleeding only stop when a tourniquet is applied properly, if compression is difficult, the bleeding and the training continue.

The active-duty and reserve Sailors got the chance to put their training into practice when a mock medical scenario took place during lunch time at the galley in "Tent City" located at Imperial Beach.

“My adrenaline was pumping the entire time as I tried to stop a victim with an abdominal wound from bleeding to death," said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Jacob Knighten, a first responder who is attached to Mobile Security Squadron Three Detachment 33. "All the while there are guns being fired, explosions going off and smoke surrounding us making it hard to breath and see. It was as close to realistic as you can get. It prepares you for anything.”

Working with strategic operations subject matter experts, trained role players interactive medical personnel and add to the stress of combat trauma care with expressions of pain, fear, hysteria, confusion and misinformation that lasts throughout the entire scenario.

“We act out our wounds as though they were real-life threats,” said James Arney, a role-player. “I usually research before hand what the injury entails and then execute it as accurately as possible. Sometimes we can get pretty bruised up, but it’s good to know that when it really counts, these Sailors will be prepared.”

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