Fort Riley, Kansas



MRX MASCAL tests combat lifesavers

By SPC Stephen Baack | 1st Infantry Division | April 16, 2007

As a group of Iraqis made their way to Mecca for a religious holiday, an explosion ripped through their vehicle killing and wounding the occupants. When Iraqi security forces and local onlookers converged on the scene, an unknown chemical agent filled the air enveloping everyone.

The transition team Soldiers who encountered this training scenario may never see anything quite like it when they get to Iraq. Successfully taking on a situation like this March 22 mass casualty exercise, however, reinforced the faith of at least one medic had for his combat lifesavers.

“Every day it’s new trials and tribulations, but we’re getting through it and right now I am so confident in the team,” said Staff Sgt. Marcell Jones, battalion TT medical adviser for Team 93-99. “I don’t see myself having any problems with the team as far as medical is going and just the personal knowledge that the guys uphold.”

The MASCAL, part of the four-day mission readiness exercise that serves as the culminating evaluation for TTs, tested the Soldiers in their combat lifesaving skills and in dealing with Iraqi people.

Central to the final test were three groups: civilians on the battlefield (COBs), mock Iraqi security forces and observer/controllers, who evaluate and provide input to the TTs after each part of the exercise.

“It’s fun,” said Denise Corey, a COB at the MASCAL. “Sometimes it’s hard work, but I understand the reason we’re doing it. My husband’s a Soldier, so when he goes downrange I want him to be prepared. That’s why we’re here … The more realistic we can make it for them, the better the training, and the more accurate it’s going to be.

“Our Soldiers are down there fighting and being injured and being killed, unfortunately, but that’s the reality of it. It’s extremely important to keep them trained properly and to keep them prepared for any situation.”

The scenarios, Corey added, just like downrange, can sometimes change day to day. The COBs are instructed to do one thing, she said, and 10 minutes later it could all change.

“The MRX so far has been pretty good,” said Capt. Joe Peltier, executive officer, intelligence officer and one of the many combat lifesavers for Team 94-07. “We’ve been thrown in to all types of different scenarios that we can encounter in theater. Every exercise that they throw at us has been a learning experience. I plan to continue to learn and take that forward with us.”

Though Peltier and his team knew there would be a MASCAL exercise as part of the MRX, he and his team had no idea when, where or what the circumstances would be.

“I think that’s good for training,” Peltier said. “If you know something’s going to happen, you’ve got time to get yourself mentally wrapped around everything that you need to do. You can walk through it a couple of times; do rehearsals.

“I think when we get in theater, we’re not going to have time to do rehearsals if stuff happens on the fly on the streets, so it’s good training for us,” Peltier added.

When the whole thing was over, Peltier and others were happy with their performance.

“We performed very well,” he said. “People broke down, didn’t have to be asked or told what to do. People started identifying and reacting based off their training.”

During the after-action review, observer/controllers gave special recognition to the medic on site.

“These casualties are dead,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Grannan to the group during the AAR. “Take these out of this area. They do not need to be around the live patients. That was perfect. Sergeant Jones, you did an excellent job, just to let you know.

“I noticed when you went by you did correct people,” Grannan continued. “And you did look at them and say, ‘Make an assessment, make an assessment. Did you look at everything?’ You did a super job. Congratulations. I think you did an excellent job. You guys are lucky. You’ve got a good medic.” (Story by Spc. Stephen Baack, 1st Inf. Div. PAO)

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