CAMP SHORABAK, Afghanistan -- Afghan National Army soldiers with 6th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps completed casualty evacuation training as part of the operational readiness cycle at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2017.
The event was the first CASEVAC simulation incorporating Afghan air assets conducted by instructors at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center, allowing for soldiers to obtain the hands-on skills needed for situations where air CASEVACs are needed.
“This is the first time we have done the CASEVAC training,” said ANA Staff Sgt. Wahid Allah, a medical instructor with the RMTC. “It has its impacts on the soldiers before taking part in real-world missions, and its practical aspects show the soldiers how to be prepared to do CASEVACs during combat.”
The kandak’s 2nd Toli began clearing a compound containing soldiers acting as an oppositional force before taking several notional casualties, each with a different injury. Soldiers with the unit quickly executed casualty care as an Afghan Mi-17 helicopter arrived to extract the wounded.
“Before they deploy to the operation it’s good for them to be prepared here and see how the CASEVAC during a real situation would be. Whenever it does happen, they will be prepared both mentally and physically,” said Allah.
U.S. advisors assigned to train, advise, assist commands located throughout Afghanistan travelled to Camp Shorabak to witness the training first-hand, while also seeking to replicate the CASEVAC scenarios at their respective units and RMTCs to standardize the processes across the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
“We came to see what progress the Marines here in Helmand have done with the CASEVAC training with the Afghans at the 215th Corps,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Walter Gay, the medical advisor to ANA 205th Corps with Train, Advise, Assist Command-South. “It’s very important to see the lessons they’ve learned, especially in regards to communications and integrating conventional aircraft into their training. It’s [also] important we get this back to all of our TAACs because this is how the Afghans will take care of their own eventually.”
For the soldiers executing combat operations against insurgent forces such as the Taliban, knowing they will receive proper treatment if they are wounded provides them with more assurance to continue pushing forward on the battlefield.
“Prior to this training we didn’t know how to do CASEVACs in real situations or in a simulation,” said Allah. “This training gave us the skills and knowledge of how to evacuate casualties. But it also helps the morale of the soldiers to feel safe when they are deployed to the real operations.”
Proper CASEVAC training is crucial in its ability not only to save lives, but also giving the ground forces the mental boost needed to defeat insurgency.
“One of the main reasons why U.S. soldiers and soldiers from other countries are so willing to go out and fight is because they know they will be taken care of,” said Gay. “The Afghans need to have that confidence in their medical system and their military to know if they get wounded they’ll be brought back and given the care they deserve and require. So if they can get this CASEVAC capability integrated into their military and police at all echelons it’ll pay major dividends later on.”