Casualty evacuation order for Okinawa updated

US Marine Corps News

2/24/2012 By Sgt. Rebekka S. Heite , Marine Corps Bases Japan
CAMP S.D. BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan — III Marine Expeditionary Force’s and Marine Corps Base Camp Butler’s commanding generals prepared for worst-case scenarios by signing III MEF/MCB Camp Butler Order 3700.1C Jan. 18.

The adoption of the revised casualty evacuation order is in direct response to a casualty evacuation in Hawaii in which III MEF personnel and civilians worked together to get patients to a medical treatment facility, said Mike Lacey, emergency manager with G-3 operations, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

“If they can do it, why can’t we?” he added.

There are six major changes in the casualty evacuation order, which covers more than just single casualties, said Lacey. It goes beyond mass casualties all the way to natural disasters such as tsunamis, typhoons and earthquakes.

One change is the ability to send injured status of forces agreement personnel to 17 different Japanese hospitals on or around Okinawa.

In the previous edition, all injured SOFA personnel were transported to U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa on Camp Lester.

With injuries, the greatest chance of survival is if the patient is moved from the injury site to a treatment site within one hour, the golden hour, said Lacey. With the old order, that was not possible if they were injured while at the Jungle Warfare Center, Ie Shima or other training areas on or near Okinawa, he added.

A second change is the ability for Japanese emergency personnel to respond to casualty evacuation scenarios involving SOFA personnel on and off base.

With Japanese emergency responders agreements, we now have access to Japanese firefighters, ambulances, the Japan Coast Guard and Dr. Heli, a Japan life-flight helicopter, when there is the need, Lacey said.

A third change is new procedures concerning high-risk training at remote locations.

New operational risk management steps will be required for high-risk training on or around Okinawa, said Lacey.

High-risk training includes nighttime convoy operations, close air support, small boat operations and dismounted jungle patrolling, according to the order.

Units requesting to conduct high-risk training shall schedule aviation support 45 days prior to the commencement of the training, according to the order.

It is prohibited to conduct such training during sea condition danger or when air casualty evacuation cannot recover a patient due to a lack of available air assets or visibility.

The fourth major change is the scope. The new order covers all of Okinawa, on base and off Marine Corps installations.

Another change in the order requires leaders to activate emergency responders by calling 911 instead of contacting range control, which speeds up the process by taking out the middle man, said Lacey.

Range control will still be notified through the sixth major change, a new MCIPAC communications system linking range control, the provost marshal’s office and the officer-in-charge/range safety officer.

The order is all-inclusive, said Lacey. It includes a map of all casualty collection points, a map with directions to Japanese hospitals, a list of all Japanese hospitals authorized for treatment of SOFA personnel, a communications plan and a PMO 911 central dispatch smart pack.

Forms included in the enclosures are assault support request forms, training area accident report forms, training area incident report forms, the MCB Camp Butler operational risk management format and nine-line casualty evacuation request form.

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