at Task Force Level
by SFC David G. Phillips
FACT: The average died-of-wounds (DOW) rate for a task force during a 10-day rotation at the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) is 50 to 60 percent.
Task force commanders would agree that to leave wounded soldiers lying on the battlefield to bleed to death would be a deplorable and grievous thing to do. Yet that is exactly what occurs during every rotation on the CMTC battlefield. If units are to "train as they fight," they need to get serious about reducing the DOW rate during their CMTC rotation.
CMTC observers/controllers (O/Cs) have reported the following problem trend:
PROBLEM TREND: Planning and executing casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) continues to be a challenge for units at the CMTC. The most frequently observed indicators of inadequate planning and poor synchronization are:
RESULT: Soldiers die of wounds before treatment arrives.
At a training center, a DOW rate of 50-60 percent is often accepted during the training exercises. But, if we equate those losses to real-world casualties, the number of casualties becomes unacceptable. Every day at CMTC is a mass casualty day. Therefore, all medical support should be planned accordingly. Yet the system too often becomes flawed in the planning phase and is, therefore, doomed to fail throughout the preparation and execution phases. This article provides some tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for synchronizing task force medical assets during the planning, preparation and execution phases. The result of synchronization is a reduction of the DOW rate.
TTPs FOR REDUCING THE DOW RATE
Plan: Develop a synchronized plan.
Prepare: Conduct thorough rehearsals at the CO/TM and task force levels.
- Liberal use of nonstandard evacuation platforms.
- Sufficient certified combat lifesavers in all platoons.
1. THE PLANNING PHASE.
Problem: The S4 often develops and briefs the CSS plan without input from the medical platoon. The S4 is often unaware or unconcerned with the status of medical platoon assets and subsequently overlooks the possibility of effectively using such assets as multiple treatment teams.
2. THE PREPARATION PHASE.
Problem: The S4 often does not include evacuation route reconnaissance during CSS rehearsals. The S4 frequently assumes that evacuation crews and other nonstandard evacuation assets know where to find the battalion aid station (BAS). On many occasions, casualties have been picked up very early in the battle, but they die while the evacuation crew tries to find the aid station.
3. THE EXECUTION PHASE.
Problem: The events in the execution phase of any mission usually highlight exactly where the unit experienced problems in planning and preparation. Unfortunately, the recommended corrections that are briefed in after-action reviews (AARs) are rarely included in the planning and preparation phases for the next mission.
Problem: Units training at CMTC usually react very quickly to casualties on the battlefield, but than have no methodology for evacuating the urgent casualties first. Instead, the unit 1SG makes "house calls," going from one vehicle to another collecting casualties until the unit's evacuation assets are full. The evacuation assets are then pushed back to the BAS with the injured. If the 1SG finds any critically injured soldiers after the evacuation assets have left, he has no way to treat them and must leave them there until the evacuation assets return from the BAS.
Medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) is a complex process that includes the integration of the FSB medical assets and requires detailed planning at all levels.
- Thoroughly PLAN for MEDEVAC and disseminate the plan to the lowest level.
- REHEARSE squad- and crew-level CASEVAC drills, remembering to reconnoiter all evacuation routes.
- Prioritize your casualties for evacuation during execution.
In review, the keys to reducing DOW rates are:
The Role of the CHS Officer in the Forward Support Battalion
The Trouble with Scout Platoon CASEVAC
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|