Photo Information

Petty Officers 3rd Class Edwin Bringner (lower left) and Rene Nava (kneeling on the right), company corpsmen with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, currently attached to 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, work on Lt. Cmdr. Michael Wilson (on the litter), the assistant battalion surgeon, as they explain what injuries the casualty has and how they treated him to Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Gerdes, the leading petty officer with Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, as part of patient-care and casualty-evacuation sustainment training here Aug. 9. The training was preparation for Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., exercise Mojave Viper where the corpsmen will do intensive casualty-evacuation training.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

Corpsmen receive CASEVAC training

9 Aug 2007 | Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

Pulling together much needed predeployment training on short notice can be difficult, but for the sailors of 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, currently attached to 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, it’s definitely not impossible.

The corpsmen took part in patient-care and casualty-evacuation sustainment training here Aug. 9. The course lasted four days and was taught by corpsmen from Special Operations Training Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

“We are covering medical procedures, interventions, patient movement and patient loading and unloading, with an emphasis on CASEVAC,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Gerdes, the leading petty officer with SOTG.

The training was divided into three stations. The first station focused on stopping bleeding. The instructors reviewed the uses of different types of tourniquets, from those in individual first-aid kits to field-expedient ones made out of available materials, such as t-shirts. The instructors also demonstrated the proper way to wrap difficult areas, like underneath the arm.

At the second station, instructors showed the corpsmen how to assemble a tri-fold Talon litter and a bi-fold Raven litter, which are the devices used to transport injured Marines. The corpsmen were shown how to assemble them in case the corpsman is the only person available.

At the final station, instructors demonstrated the proper way to load a patient on a litter into a helicopter. The first issues the instructors discussed were the importance of properly fastened straps and careful footing. The corpsmen were then shown the proper way to place litters into the designated slots within the helicopter.

One of the more important lessons involved loading a heavy patient into a helicopter. The corpsmen were taught a technique called “stair-stepping,” which involves securing the patient on a lower level on the side of the helicopter, then moving the patient up one side at a time until he is in the proper position.

The training was significant because units attached to division normally receive CASEVAC training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., exercise Mojave Viper.

“This is the first time we’ve done it for another group,” Gerdes said. “Primarily, we train II MEF with emphasis on (Marine Expeditionary Units.) The training is generally part of a unit’s predeployment training plan. This unit came to us.”

Senior Chief Petty Officer Larry Tentinger, the assistant battalion chief and training officer with 3rd Bn., 23rd Marines, said the unit was interested in this type of training as preparation for Mojave Viper, which will offer the corpsmen much more intensive training.

The battalion originally contacted Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., about getting helicopter CASEVAC training. Personnel at the air station informed them of the program here through SOTG.

The class is normally two weeks long, but was condensed into four days to meet the unit’s needs.

“They were great,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Wilson, the assistant battalion surgeon. “They put a great course together for us with little notice.”