BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Soldiers of 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon, conducted a force protection exercise with a twist here June 30. The exercise simulated attacks that resulted in casualties, forcing Soldiers to react appropriately to casualties while continuing security for the brigade’s operating area.
“We wanted to take (the force protection exercise) to the next level,” said Capt. Matthew Romanych, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander and primary organizer of the event. “We wanted to add a little more realism so that Soldiers would be prepared to react if something serious happens.”
Training began at night with the company sending a message to HHC Soldiers and neighboring Falcon units, including TF Observe Detect Identify and Neutralize-Afghanistan and TF Mountain Eagle, to immediately increase security.
Soldiers demonstrated their ability to increase security on the task force’s area, restrict passage, and patrol nearby areas to help protect important assets on the camp, to include the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade headquarters.
Ordinarily, demonstrating their proficiency would have been the extent of the training, but the Soldiers who responded were instructed that, in the exercise scenario, the camp had been hit with indirect fire and had likely suffered casualties. After being briefed, Soldiers on the FORCEPRO teams moved out, assuming their positions as stationary and patrolling guards.
While the FORCEPRO Soldiers played a significant role in the exercise, the training also tested the mettle of TF Falcon medics and doctors.
“Our medics are going to set up a casualty collection point and treat patients,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Trick, medical operations noncommissioned officer in charge. “They’ll treat patients there until the casualties can be moved off to a facility, like what we’d do in real life.”
About half an hour into the exercise, the casualties started screaming (if conscious) to attract the patrolling Soldiers. After discovering a casualty, the teams reacted quickly to determine the severity of the wounds, provide medical treatment immediately if necessary, and move the patient to the casualty collection point.
“We want realism,” Romanych said. “I want these Soldiers, who would be responsible for keeping a lot of people safe, to know that they are capable of performing during the real deal.”
As Soldiers brought casualties to the CCP, medics manning the station reacted quickly, tearing off armor and placing tourniquets, bandages and splints to stabilize patients and move casualties out of the way so that others could be treated.
“The medics are a huge part of this exercise,” said Spc. Jessica Williamson, a medic with the 10th CAB Aviation Consolidated Aid Station and one of the training exercise organizers.
“We have to know if our massive casualty reaction plan works,” she added.
After roughly two hours, the exercise ended and Soldiers on the FORCEPRO team rescued all of the casualties.“The exercise went well,” Romanych said. “The whole purpose of these things is to identify deficiencies and correct them. I’m confident in the abilities of the Soldiers assigned to protecting the camp.”