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'Overwhelming success' at Patriot Exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amy N. Adducchio
  • 178th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Thirty Airmen, eight different Air Force specialty codes, 104 patients and work hours in the double-digits. The two-day domestic operations portion of the 2011 Patriot Exercise at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis., concluded July 14.
     Patriot is a two-week, large-scale exercise in which participating units plan their scenarios and events to meet their training requirements. When a vacancy for the lead unit arose for the DOMOPS about a month ago, the 178th Medical Group of Springfield, Ohio, picked up the mission. Patriot provided an opportunity for more extensive training than possible at home station.
     This year's exercise scenario featured a fictitious air show being held in the local area with an expected daily average attendance of approximately 80,000 people. The exercise facilitators ran a variety of disaster and incident scenarios for the participating medical personnel.
     The 178 MDG staffed an Expeditionary Medical Support Basic, which is designed to facilitate surgical and primary medical care. The unit managed triage; decontaminated victims, living and deceased; emergency and surgical care; and command and control, which includes administrative duties, patient and staff accountability, communication with higher levels of command and logistics.
     This deployed environment allowed participants to gain experience in handling mass casualties, streamlining patient flow and dealing with different scenarios, said Master Sgt. Donnie Diller, the 178th Medical Group's superintendent of aerospace medicine.
     "Usually in a mass casualty incident, you're dealing with some type of explosion or some type of [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives]. When we train back at home, we might talk about it, but it's more medical emergencies," said Sergeant Diller.
     The exercise also has some flexibility.
     "The benefit we have here is that at any given time, we can just say, 'Alright, stop. We're going to focus on this guy right here...'" said Col. (Dr.) Matthew Moorman, acting commander of the 178 MDG at Patriot Exercise. Doctor Moorman conducted bedside teaching, such as how to use a portable ultra sound machine on internal organs to expedite diagnosis and treatment of a patient.
     The operation relied on a UH-60 Black Hawk for aeromedical evacuation patients, ambulances and other vehicles to transport patients to and from the EMEDS Basic.
     The 178 MDG also incorporated civilian specialists into its operations, with no prior notice of their participation.
Wisconsin-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, a volunteer-based force that responds to emergencies within the state, is one of the National Disaster Medical System's more than 60 specialized teams throughout the country.
     "The NDMS is a pretty robust system available to serve wherever and however needed when the local medical resources are overwhelmed," said Dr. Jason Liu, the acting commander of the WI-1 DMAT. Doctor Liu is an emergency physician at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
This is the first year that WI-1 DMAT has participated in Patriot.
     "It's been very educational for us to work with the military, and I think it also simulates the real world," said Doctor Liu of the exercise. "I think we've been learning a lot from each other.... We've been really exercising that civilian-military interface," said Doctor Liu.
     Doctor Moorman was pleased with his team's performance throughout the exercise, he said.
     "This was an overwhelming success," said Doctor Moorman. "If we [deploy] somewhere tomorrow, we take this experience with us."