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Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

3/4 “Docs” train for the worst

31 May 2005 | Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

Groups of stretcher bearers rush to the ambulance as it pulls in to the battalion aid station, corpsmen scramble to set up workstations for incoming wounded and “docs” steel themselves for the task ahead… saving lives. Twenty-three corpsmen with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-8, conducted a mass casualty drill here, May 31. The impromptu drill included eight casualties (with simulated wounds of all kinds) and various distractions and added complications from Marines and instructors. “We we’re trying to make it as authentic as possible,” said Chief Maurice Wilson, 43-year-old senior medical department representative for the battalion, “You’re going to have some unnerving sights and sounds in combat.” Dying patients, limited time and volatile Marines were just a few of the problems corpsmen faced while trying to set up and operate the five work areas of the drill. The drill lasted for more than an hour as the corpsmen treated the eight casualties and dealt with the numerous challenges of the exercise. The corpsmen who participated found the drill to be challenging and effective. “It happened the way it would if it were real,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard L. Bernard, 23-year-old line corpsman for the battalion, “And we were trained well enough to handle it.” The corpsmen’s performance was admirable during the exercise, exhibiting confidence and proficiency in all aspects, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Simakara Sok, supply and embarkation petty officer for the battalion aid station and coordinator of the exercise. “We knew how to get it done and we did really well,” said Bernard, a native of New Orleans, La. After reviewing the battalion’s corpsmen during the drill, and with the knowledge that many of the corpsmen have been battle tested in previous deployments, the staff of the battalion aid station is confident their “docs” are ready for the real thing. “They’re ready, without a doubt!” said Wilson, a native of Wilmington, N.C. “This is what we do!” The veteran corpsmen of the battalion will continue to train during the deployment, maintaining an ever-present state of readiness in the combat environment of Iraq.