Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. --
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 flew two CH-46E “Sea Knights” to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Jan. 14 to assist with pre-deployment training.
The “Sea Elk” supported Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 1st Marine Logistics Group as they prepare to be attached to 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The squadron took turns picking up and dropping off CLB-11 Marines and sailors as they practiced mass casualty evacuation, humanitarian assistance operations, and other scenarios.
“This training helps the pilots become more proficient with different types of (MEU) operations,” said Capt. Chris M. Demars, a pilot with the squadron. “Mass casualty evacuation is one of the many missions that our squadron can perform while deployed on land or sea.”
While handing food out to actors dressed as foreign nationals in an urban terrain village, the Marines came under simulated fire. Radio operators at a base camp received a call from the Marines, asking for an immediate mass casualty evacuation.
The Battalion is conducting a week-long humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training evolution for deployment next fall, explained Warrant Officer Anthony Gregory, an embark officer with CLB-11. The Marines have been practicing with different scenarios like crowd control, rapid evacuation and other situations they might see overseas.
A mass casualty team of corpsmen and Marines gathered stretchers and medical supplies as radio operators talked to the air crew and coordinated a landing zone. In a matter of minutes the pilots landed their Sea Knights near the mass casualty team.
“We back up the pilots, verify what’s being said in the landing zone brief, and keep in touch with Marines on the ground,” said Cpl. Gary Kremer, a crew chief with the squadron. “When we land, I help get the passengers situated and secure any cargo.”
The mass casualty team boarded the helicopters after spending a few moments practicing entering and exiting the Sea Knight. The crew chiefs checked the Marines on board and secured their gear, before pilots lifted off and flew several miles to an urban training village.
“Our mass casualty team will be on standby whenever Marines leave the ship on a mission when we deploy,” said Navy Lt. Michael E. Manning, the officer-in-charge of the team and supply officer with CLB-11. “Our mission is to get the casualty stable enough for transport and send them to a level two medical facility.”
Once the team arrived on site they immediately began providing care to actors with simulated injuries. Some Marines provided security while corpsmen prepared casualties for evacuation.
“The air asset is a major part of what we do and are extremely valuable in accomplishing the mission,” said Gregory. “They make lifesaving and transport readily available.”