US, partner nations participate in mass casualty exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski
  • 355th Fighter Wing public affairs
Angel Thunder 2015, a mass casualty exercise involving multinational armed services, took place in northern Arizona June 5.

A casualty collection point (CCP) was setup in an aircraft hangar at Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport where more than 50 simulated casualties were transported from a simulated flood disaster site in Camp Navajo Training Site, Arizona.

Upon arrival to the CCP in U.S. Army CH-47D Chinooks, German air force CH-53GS and U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawks, active-duty personnel and students from the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University acted as patients to be triaged for injuries ranging from trauma-induced child labor to brain injuries.

"We've got flight nurses and med techs helping run the exercise on the inside (the airport hangar)," said Capt. Leigh Miller, a 187th Air Medical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse. "My role is to triage the most critical patients when they come in, assess their injuries and help determine who leaves on a plane first."

Medical personnel worked diligently and cohesively to ensure the patients in the most critical condition received urgent and proper care.

"I think they were very professional," said Ryan Gould, a Northern Arizona University Air Force ROTC cadet. "They quickly assessed what was going on and got me out of there very fast. As soon as I got (to the CCP), I felt like I was being taken care of the whole time."

This exercise provided many participants their first experience in working with personnel from the U.S. and foreign nations, but they still stayed team oriented.

"The positive of this exercise is we're getting everyone out of their comfort zones," Miller said. "Everyone is doing something a little bit different than what they're used to. We're all learning. Everybody's being flexible so we're working together and getting it figured out. It's been a great experience."

For personnel from the Royal Danish air force, this was their last day as participants in Angel Thunder 2015.

"I think this is a good exercise," said Flight Sgt. Henrik Gyǒrkǒs, a Royal Danish forward air evacuation medic. "It's the first time we have been over here, so it's kind of a survey for us. But I hope for next year we can bring our five forward air teams over and perhaps fly some more medevac because that is our primary job. So I hope we can come over again."