Every Summer, thousands of Cadets come from all over the nation to attend Cadet Summer Training (CST) in Fort Knox, Ky. Ensuring the safety of those Cadets is the number one priority for US Army Cadet Command (USACC). 

That is why Army medical personnel and local emergency first responders worked together to make certain that if an injury or incident occurs, they can respond to the situation in a timely and efficient manner. 

On June 2nd, 2021 emergency first responders and Army medical personnel, who are known as Task Force (TF) Med, conducted the first Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) joint training exercise for CST. 

One of the casualties is moved on a stretcher after a simulated 15 passenger van roll-over accident during the CASEVAC joint training exercise with Fort Knox medical personnel and local first responders at Fort Knox, Ky. June 2, 2021 | Photo by Rachael Kocour, CST Public Affairs Office

For the first time, TF Med worked alongside local first responders such as, Fort Knox Fire Division and Emergency Medical Services; together they planned the CASEVAC operation and used their combined resources to provide the best possible care for the simulated casualties. 

Capt. Jonatan Caballero, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Medical Troop, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, is the commander of the medical facility and tactical operations center (TOC) for the CASEVAC scenario. 

Caballero played a large role in the planning process of this joint training exercise; he said, “May 10th is when we started doing rehearsals to show our troopers [TF Med Medics] how to, step by step, improve their systems for getting casualties on the FLA’s (Field Litter Ambulance) and bringing them to the medical care.”

One of the simulated incidents involved a fifteen passenger van roll-over, resulting in seven simulated casualties. A fifteen passenger van is what Cadets may often travel in while attending CST; this is why the scenario was chosen for this CASEVAC training exercise. 

Spc. Sanchez uses one of the realistic injury props for the CASEVAC exercise at Fort Knox, Ky. June 2, 2021 | Photo by Rachael Kocour, CST Public Affairs Office

To prepare for the simulation, multiple soldiers were outfitted with realistic fake injuries and 3-D wound prosthetics before arriving at the scene. These role players acted as casualties for the simulation, which allowed the TF Med and local first responders to have a more authentic training scenario.

Caballero was in command of many of the TF Med Medics that were on the scene for the simulated accident, and he elaborates on the success of the CASEVAC and the importance of the exercise by saying, “I think it went really well and I am pretty proud of my troopers [TF Med Medics]…  they have been trained in these scenarios for a while, so today was a little more realistic because we had casualties that had actually some sort of ‘injury’… we want them to see that– we want them to get nervous when we’re actually dealing with a potential injury. That way, they can refine their skills day by day.”

USACC’s primary concern is the safety of the Cadets who attend CST every summer; careful consideration and proactive steps are taken to keep them safe. For example, large-scale CASEVAC exercises will be facilitated again throughout the summer, and they are rehearsed to ensure proper understanding of procedure from all personnel for any potential emergency situations. The continuation of these joint training exercises is necessary to ensure the safety of all current and future Cadets that come through Fort Knox to attend Cadet Summer Training.