USA: Hospital Corpsmen Assigned to 11th MEU Conduct Combat Stress Training


Hospital corpsmen assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted combat stress training Dec. 9 while deployed aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) as the ship conducted operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

The training required corpsmen to perform basic medical procedures under a realistic, high-stress scenario.

Chief Hospital Corpsman Patrick Mangaran, assigned to the 11th MEU, said the training was the first of the deployment and would serve as a baseline evaluation.

“We’re putting them into an unorthodox, unconventional type of training,” said Mangaran. “We wanted to put some mental and physical stress on them, trying to see how they treat patients and how they communicate in chaos.”

The corpsmen had to treat multiple patients in a cramped, humid environment under the cover of darkness, while simultaneously being yelled at by their instructors to simulate a real evolution.

“You’ve got to keep your cool, because the bullets aren’t going to stop flying,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Quisto Gonzalez. “When you’re in your element and no one is yelling at you, it’s easy to do an I.V., but when someone is screaming at you and pouring water on you, that same I.V., it’s a lot harder to keep your composure.”

Some of the simulated wounds treated were amputations, massive hemorrhaging from major arteries, burns and psychological wounds.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Stephen Harris emphasized the importance of the training, and said it’s important for all corpsmen to keep their basic skills sharp.

“We have very perishable skills, and if I don’t do something for awhile and try to pick it back up, it’s going to take me awhile,” said Harris. “When we train, we want to do it right, we want to make sure we can do our job effectively, it’s not practice makes perfect, it’s perfect practice makes perfect.”

New Orleans is assigned to Amphibious Squadron 5, commanded by Capt. Humberto L. Quintanilla, II, and along with embarked 11th MEU Marines, the ship is deployed as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

Commissioned in 2007, New Orleans is the second of the San Antonio-class transport dock ships. Its warfighting capabilities include a state-of-the-art command and control suite, substantially increased vehicle lift capacity, a large flight deck, and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the littoral environment.

The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

More than half of the world’s population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.

Naval Today Staff , December 12, 2011