FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq — Aid stations around the 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s sector in eastern Baghdad are reporting a drop in the number of trauma cases compared with the 3rd Infantry Division’s predecessor.

Army officials said the sharp decline is due, at least in part, to the changed operational picture. When the 1st Cavalry Division was here, it took heavy casualties while combating a sustained uprising in nearby Sadr City.

In the first month of the 1st Cav’s deployment — April 2004 — officials reported 125 casualties. In March 2005, the full first month on station for the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd BCT, officials reported 10 casualties.

Loyalty’s aid station is operated jointly by 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment and the 2nd Brigade Troops Battalion. The facility’s medical providers — two physician assistants and a team of medics — most commonly saw blast injuries, gunshot wounds, burns and trauma from vehicle accidents, said 2nd Lt. Andrew Joyce, a medical platoon leader from Savannah, Ga.

While the number of injuries has been fairly low, said Capt. Sheldon Watson, a physician assistant who lives in Schweinfurt, Germany, the troops are prepared to handle any spike.

“It’s nice and quiet right now,” he said. “We’d like to keep it that way. We’ve dealt with some [traumas] and we’re very prepared to treat them. The aid station is completely set up to do any trauma stabilization. There’s a tremendous amount of capability here.”

In critical situations, an aid station will treat, stabilize and evacuate patients to the Combat Support Hospital, or CSH, in Baghdad’s International Zone as quickly as possible, he said.

Aid station staff members conduct routine examinations, hold daily sick calls and attend periodic training sessions to sharpen skills.

For evacuation purposes, Loyalty personnel have three ground ambulances and landing pads for two helicopters at their disposal.

“We’re still active. The game is far from over for us,” Watson said.

“It’s still a volatile situation. Until the Iraqi government stabilizes more and further establishes itself, we can still expect to see more traumas here.”

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