Medical staff provides care during exercise
By Senior Airman Andrew Svoboda, Exercise Foal Eagle Public Affairs
/ Published March 22, 2003
TAEGU AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN) -- Staff Sgt. Sonia Rincon's hands are splattered with blood and pieces of torn flesh. Her patient has a sucking chest wound and a fractured leg.
Despite these gruesome injuries, Rincon takes her time tending to the wounds.
She is not actually dressing the wounds, but creating them. Rincon is one of two airman from the 353rd Operations Support Squadron's medical flight qualified to apply the fake blood and gore, known as moulage, to simulated victims during an exercise.
"This gives more of a sense of reality," Rincon said, referring to the fake wounds.
"Troops can actually see and visualize the wounds," said Capt. Ken Brown, from the 353rd OSS medical flight. "The moulage is very realistic and also helps the person playing the victim get into the role."
The two medics have been using the moulage at their home station of Kadena Air Base, Japan, for about three months now. A basic moulage kit provides the tools for medics to create wounds ranging from bruises and lacerations to major injuries such as fractures and burns.
During Exercise Foal Eagle here, once troops discover a simulated victim, they assess the wounds, provide emergency first-aid and arrange to transport the victims. When patients arrive at the clinic, they go through a medical decontamination line.
"We have a step-by-step process for removing patients' gear so both the worker and patient avoids contamination," said Rincon.
Patients are then sent to the triage area where doctors determine their priority.
As a medical administrative specialist, Rincon enters casualty information in a database, which is forwarded to the personnel section. They also arrange for helicopters and medical evacuation aircraft.
For members of the 353rd OSS medical flight, this exercise re-enforces training they receive so they can handle real-world casualties and events.
"We practice connectivity with the other units we work with," said Lt. Col. Sid Brevard, 353rd Special Operations Group surgeon. Brevard said he believes interaction is something that can not be simulated. "The more we practice, the better we'll be."
While the 353rd SOG trains during the exercise, three independent duty medical technicians stand ready to handle any real-world medical emergencies.
Two medical technicians are assigned here year round and one member of the cadre team is from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. There is a technician on duty 24-hours a day through the duration of the exercise.
The medical technicians hold a sick call twice a day. Most of the patients they have seen suffer from minor problems like sore throats and sprained ankles.
Additionally, they test water around base.
"At my home station, I work in the hospital education office," said Tech. Sgt. Greg Brooks, from the 3rd Medical Group at Elmendorf. "Since I don't see patients on a daily basis, this is a great way to perform patient care and (further) my mobility position (expertise)." (Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces News Service)