II MEF Corpsmen, Marines advance combat medical capabilities

14 Feb 2014 | Lance Cpl. Joshua R. Heins

II Marine Expeditionary Force sailors received two weeks of training at the Naval Trauma Training Center in Los Angeles, which was part of the overall enhanced casualty evacuation training pipeline.

As the number of U.S. forces decrease in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the number of deployed medical providers will decrease as well. This advanced training ensures that, despite a decrease in troop strength, medical support capabilities will remain.

The enhanced CASEVAC course is the first of its kind, with students training to provide life saving measures aboard the Marine Corps’ MV-22B Osprey. Advanced flight medical training is similar to special operations medical training and therefore uncommon for corpsmen assigned to Marine Corps units.

As a hybrid tiltrotor aircraft, combining the vertical lift capabilities of a helicopter with the range and speed of an airplane, the MV-22B is uniquely suited to carry out the mission of providing timely evacuation and in-flight care for wounded service members.

This training gives the medical crew assigned to the MV-22B casualty evacuation aircraft, a quick response, long-range casualty evacuation capability. While traditional MV-22B CASEVAC missions have been executed in Iraq and Afghanistan, future deployments will feature a reconfigured Osprey and an enhanced medical crew for the first time, according to Chief Petty Officer Arnel Calubaquib, the senior corpsman receiving the training. While at NTTC, the corpsmen refined their capabilities as life savers, said Calubaquib.

“A normal day here is broken up into two parts,” said Calubaquib, referring to the advanced course. “We trained on trauma medicine in the first half of the day, and finished with critical care in the later half, which included intensive care unit training and emergency room training.”

“We started with 38 candidates, but we finished with 12,” said Calubaquib.

The training included familiarization with the MV-22B and crew, water survival and in-flight medical care. The corpsmen also developed best practices for operations aboard the MV-22B. Training for casualty evacuations with the Osprey is not common for corpsmen and the advanced training allowed the Sailors to interact with and understand the capabilities of the tiltrotor aircraft and crew, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Brennon Brown.

“We all started training together back in November,” said Brown.

Predeployment training gives Marines and sailors a deeper understanding of their roles while deployed. It also allows them to refine their capabilities in a safer environment. The enhanced CASEVAC course gave the II MEF corpsmen a new platform for their life saving efforts during future operations, according to Calubaquib.

“We are as prepared as we could possibly be,” said Calubaquib. “The next step now is putting it all together overseas.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point