Ten wounded military personnel laid sprawled next to an upturned van in the early morning light. Combat medics and local emergency personnel surrounded the vehicle, rushing to tend their injuries and evacuate them.
These Soldiers were not suffering from actual wounds; however, they were part of a simulated casualty evacuation drill hosted by Fort Knox in preparation for Cadet Summer Training (CST). Maj. Patrick Hensel, a medical planner on site, oversaw the May 24 operation.
“It’s a CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) exercise rehearsal. We’re moving pieces, personnel equipment, to have simulated patients in a vehicle rollover, and simulate them going through the whole service support plan and getting them to their higher roles of care to get trauma treatment,” said Hensel.
It took weeks of planning to make the drill a reality. According to Hensel, the execution was the easiest part.
“We do internal meetings and talk through the specifics and details of how it’s going to go down,” said Hensel.
The drill began with local firefighters and combat medics preparing the mock casualties for evacuation. The team checked injuries and assessed who required major medical attention. Those requiring more intensive care were placed on stretchers and loaded into an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that responded to the incident.
According to Tom Campbell, the Cadet Summer Training medical planner on site, the emphasis of this drill was cooperation.
“We really need to get an understanding that everyone is on the same sheet of music,” said Campbell.
The simulated patients transported to the Role 2 Field Hospital were cared for by combat medics who went to work treating the trauma patients. Some of the Soldiers were even fitted with IVs as part of the exercise. While the exercise did not go through without challenging moments, it was an effective training to start off the summer.
Cadet Summer Training starts May 26 and runs until August 18. CST is the largest annual training event in the Army, training over 9,000 Army ROTC Cadets to become leaders and future Army officers.