Taskmasters test their medical skills

Taskmasters assigned to 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), provide aid to a notional casualty June 18 during a mass casualty exercise at Johnson Field. Soldiers from 426th BSB conducted this exercise to validate each Soldier’s role, actions and responsibilities in the event the battalion gains significant casualties during operations.

The Taskmasters of C Company, 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conducted a mass casualty training exercise to prepare the battalion to respond to several casualties in a combat environment.

The June 18 operation, led by the Cold-Blooded Medical Company on Johnson Field, integrated medical and other leaders into a live rehearsal of a response to a traumatic event.

Second Lieutenant Kelley Crennan, medical officer, C Co., 426th BSB, realized the importance of every Soldier being fully engaged during the MASCAL exercise.

“The overall point of this exercise was to show each company their role and responsibility in the event of a MASCAL,” Crennan said. “It demonstrated to the companies that C Co. cannot handle the process alone. It’s a team effort.”

In the scenario, the battalion responded to notional mass casualties in the brigade support area and outside of the BSA, while conducting patient decontamination.

The event was as realistic as Cold-Blooded could portray a MASCAL with minor to life-threatening injuries requiring surgery. Each Soldier put their Combat Life Saver and Eagle First Responder skills to the test as they ran across Johnson Field to assist simulated injuries on several patients.

“I liked that they implemented an amputated hand, put us on the operating table, checked our vitals, and gave us an IV,” said Max Hernandez, motor transport operator, A Co., 426th BSB and a role player. “They walked us through the whole process. I’ve never been a part of training like this and it was thorough and well-implemented.”

The unit executed casualty collection points, casualty evacuation and triage areas were established and had the Taskmasters going through their unit standard operating procedures putting those tasks to the test.

The Soldiers conducted three MASCAL scenarios each containing 20 patients with simulated injuries. After each exercise, the battalion conducted a quick after-action review to ensure each Soldier could capture the lessons learned from the event.

“This is a great insight on our primary roles before we go into the field,” said Pfc. Evan Walker, medic, C Co., 426th BSB. “It’s great to train before being put on the spot.”

This was a good test of capabilities, said Sgt. Matthew Connington, medic, C Co., 426th BSB, and he realized the importance of everyone being able to conduct lifesaving actions despite military occupational specialty.

“The biggest impact from this training was integrating the CLS-qualified personnel from each company,” Connington said. “It helped refine the process while displaying the importance of every member of the team. It also gave the opportunity for trained personnel to utilize the skills they’ve learned in a tactical environment in preparation for the field and JRTC. This training has a lot of real-world applicability.”

Exercises such as a MASCAL are intended to keep Soldiers at a high state of readiness by offering a relevant and realistic training opportunity to test the battalion’s emergency response systems. A MASCAL is a serious event no Soldier wants to endure but the battalion will be ready because of the realistic training.

“I thought it was going to be a little exercise and check the block, but it was so thorough and I really liked how they went through all of the motions,” said Spc. Dante McDaniel, HHC, 426th BSB. “This is how training should be. This was real training.”

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