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Emergency Response Exercise at Eagle Base

By 1Lt Alexander Barb
First published in
SFOR Informer #98, October 11, 2000

Tuzla - The victim lies moaning, his breath stalling. Burns to the second degree covered his abdomen and his chest, and third degree burns charred his forearms and legs. A terrifying diagnosis. Flames had eaten away the skin on more than 50 percent of his body.
"We are conducting this exercise to show how we work in emergency situations when several people are wounded. This helps us also make sure we are operational," said Maj. Jon Hobbs, in charge of the last exercise of the 115th Field Hospital at Eagle Base before the 249th General Hospital takes over after September 27th.
Under the cool artificial neon lights of Eagle Base, a pungent odour of medicine and disinfectant wafts through the air, as the medical staff scurried around the patient.
Pulse: 102
Blood pressure: 14/8
The patient is dying. Stretched on his bed, unable to make out the covered faces and hands working on him through the blinding light, Cpl. Clarence Behan kept on playing the role of the victim.
The story of the accident is simple. While he was trying to fix a van packed with Jerry cans of kerosene, his two fellow soldiers lit their cigarettes. The explosion that followed projected the three men 10 feet into the air.
Once the distress signal was given, the first team of paramedics arrived on the scene of the accident. Lying on a stretcher with a neck-brace on, the victims were transported into the ambulance.
Meanwhile, in the pure blue sky, the thumping blades of a Blackhawk can be heard coming from the Dobol camp. Bad news for the doctors, there are more casualties on their way. Onboard are two other wounded soldiers from a car wreck.
The driver's face was fractured and he will need a surgical intervention that cannot be done in this field hospital.
The E.R. team made up of a doctor and four assistants put the burn victim through the X-ray machine. He has no internal injuries.
"I am going to need a medevac to deal with this victim because of the extent of his burns," said the doctor.
On the tarmac of the airport a medevac airplane awaits. The seats had been folded up to make space for the stretchers. Capt. Michael Price and Cpl. Wendy Ewing take care of the first victim to come onboard. They tie down the stretcher so that the victim feels the least possible turbulence from the flight.
"It feels like the minutes last hours," said Behan. "If it had really happened I feel that the nurses and doctors would have saved my life."
For Maj. Hobbs the drill had gone well.
"I am very happy with the exercise results because we hit every objective we had set out to achieve, including the MEDEVAC," he said. "After the exercise we are going to meet with the new team (249th GH) for a debriefing and see what they think about it. They will then be able to perfect their own training."

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: US
Exercises and Training