WACKERNHEIM, Germany — More than 200 U.S. and German medical soldiers could be forgiven for not knowing exactly what hit them. On Saturday, they were first notified of a major training exercise and told to be in place and ready to treat casualties in no more than 72 hours.
The lack of warning was meant to replicate what might happen if a crisis suddenly erupted somewhere in the NATO area of responsibility and medical support was needed near the front lines. Fittingly, the exercise was termed Medshock.
U.S. Army soldiers from the 30th Medical Brigade’s 212th Combat Support Hospital and 421st Medical Battalion were joined by their colleagues from the German army’s Rapid Forces Division at Wackernheim, Germany, for the exercise, set to end Friday.
Two treatment facilities were established on the first day — Role I and Role II. Role I care focused on first aid and buddy aid, which aims to stabilize a casualty, enabling transportation to a higher level of care, such as Role II, which can provide advanced trauma care.
The medical units responded to a simulated invasion of much of Europe by the fictional country of Bothnia. The medical facilities they set up would be behind the front lines of a NATO counterattack to retake the Hahn airport.
“The biggest thing is being able to evacuate casualties and to function together with our German counterparts to function together as a team, so it’s a natural flow of patient care, and to get a better understanding of each other’s capabilities and how we can work together,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rakeena Lipkins, a clinical operations noncommissioned officer with the 30th Medical Brigade.
Lipkins was part of the input cell, which planned the kinds and number of wounds the participating units would see. To add a layer of authenticity and realism, a team of makeup effects artists was brought in from the United Kingdom so the medics could identify the kind of injury they were treating, Lipkins said.
Expert trainers, both U.S. and German, from the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany, planned the exercise and evaluated the units involved.