Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
The Osprey’s powerful rotors sent dust and debris flying into the corpsmen’s eyes as they covered their patients.
On the command of “up,” the corpsmen lifted patient-filled litters, moved across the open field and loaded them into the back of the Ospreys.
Navy corpsmen with 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted tactical evacuation training with instructors from the Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, at Stone Bay aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 15, 2011.
The sailors loaded casualties onto MV-22B Ospreys from the Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (reinforced), 22nd MEU, to practice treating patients while in flight.
“Caring for a patient while in flight as opposed to stationary is a challenge,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class James C. Lynch, a corpsman with VMM-263, 22nd MEU, and a Nashville, Tenn., native.
Navy and Marine role-players were scattered across the ground wearing fake wounds while corpsmen assessed and treated their injuries. They then loaded casualties onto litters and staged them for evacuation.
“Having role-players is imperative,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon L. Hahn, a corpsman with Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd MEU, and a Fort Collins, Colo., native. “Any one of those guys could have gotten sick while in flight. This is the real reaction of people.”
The Ospreys flew in over the treetops and landed near the wounded. Then the corpsmen carried the wounded onto the aircraft. Two corpsmen stayed aboard the Ospreys to care for their patients.
While in the air dealing with the g-forces caused by the Osprey’s sharp turns, sailors treated the patients’ wounds and injected intravenous fluids.
“Caring for the patients was extremely difficult because you’re not expecting that rise in elevation,” said Hahn. “It’s like having your weight times ten pushing down on you.”
Once the corpsmen completely treated their patients, the Ospreys landed, and the next team loaded their casualties.
“The flight went well,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jose E. Muzaurieta, a corpsman with VMM-263, 22nd MEU, and a St. Petersburg, Fla., native. “It was awesome, I learned a lot.”
This was one of the final pieces of the corpsmen’s two-week training. They spent the first week going through vigorous physical activity, such as litter courses where they carried a 200-pound manikin, on a stretcher, over, under and around obstacles. They also practiced caring for and protecting a patient during a firefight on a live-fire range.
“This is the best school I’ve attended in the Navy,” said Hahn. “I love this school. They give you exactly what you need to know and none of the extra.”
The training prepares the sailors for their upcoming deployment with the 22nd MEU which can land them anywhere in the world.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are in the early stages of their pre-deployment training program, which is a series of progressively complex exercises designed to train and test the MEU's ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and the Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps' smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors ready to provide immediate response in a hostile or crisis environment. While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft available to support the unit's operations abroad.