Ramstein exercise tests airmen's response to mass casualties
Stars and Stripes July 26, 2003
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — A parking lot at Ramstein High School turned into a chaotic scene Friday during a mass casualty drill designed to train airmen how to respond to attack.
More than 40 airmen painted with fake blood and wounds so gruesome they looked real were splayed out on the pavement after several fake explosions.
Exercise planners were reluctant to discuss the drill while it was going on, wary of alerting others who might be involved in the exercise later.
However, the training was meant to teach medical, law enforcement and fire personnel how to react in a chemical or biological attack, according to a statement from the base public affairs office.
The Air Staff’s Bio Defense Task Force was at Ramstein on Friday to evaluate the base’s Bio Defense Plan. The exercise was designed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency. That agency hired the Texas Engineering Extension Service, which is affiliated with Texas A&M University, to help do the training.
The airmen who portrayed victims Friday volunteered to “play” in the exercise.
“You get to see how they would handle it if something bad were to happen,” Airman Miranda Clark of the 426th Information Operations Squadron said. Clark had theoretically been doused with some kind of chemical agent.
Members of the 86th Dental Squadron helped apply the bloody injuries using stage makeup and waxes, said Tech. Sgt. Henry Colma. They also helped coach the victims through their mock reaction to their wounds.
“It gives realism to the responders,” Colma said.
“It can bring additional stress to deal with emotional patients.”