CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan -- Throughout the past month, soldiers with 7th Special Operations Kandak, 215th Corps have rehearsed and refined their casualty evacuation processes while working alongside the Afghan Air Force.
U.S. advisors with various units assisted their Afghan counterparts during the first two training events, at Camp Shorabak, Aug. 14 and 27, 2017. The forces collaborated for a third iteration Sept. 10, this time completing the scenarios at night.
“You have to be able to complete CASEVACs during both the day and night. Just because operations aren’t always planned for night doesn’t mean you won’t take casualties,” said Navy Lt. Laura Cargill, the lead medical planner for Task Force Southwest.
Throughout each of the separate evolutions, the Afghans have focused on enhancing their communication procedures from the onsite location of injury to the 215th Corps Tactical Operations Center. The TOC then notifies the Air Operations Detachment, subsequently sending two Mi-17 helicopters to extract the casualty.
“This is getting them used to the process, and they’re doing it faster and faster every time,” said Cargill.
According to Cargill, the training has already started to manifest positive results during operations in Helmand province.
“Recently, they were able to complete their own CASEVAC request and get a helicopter to the point injury in 15 minutes, which is drastic improvement from when we first got here,” said Cargill.
As the soldiers of 7th SOK continue enhancing these vital skillsets, other commands throughout Afghanistan are looking to them to start incorporating their processes into their own CASEVAC training.
“The reason why we do this is to help our friends on the battlefield,” said one soldier with 7th SOK. “This provides realistic training for us… we’ve done this many times, and we’re getting better.”
The key element moving forward will be for the soldiers of 7th SOK and the entirety of 215th Corps to further develop their CASEVAC capabilities. Doing so only increases the soldiers’ trust in knowing that if they are wounded battling insurgency, they will be taken care of.
“It’s gone really well each time,” said Cargill. “I think every time they get better at the communication piece… [and] in actual operations, they’ve gotten faster, and the process is getting smoother and quicker.”