Corpsmen save crash victims
4/6/2012 By Cpl. Mark W. Stroud , Marine Corps Bases Japan
“(Corpsmen) are never off duty,” said Chief Petty Officer Charles R. Schaefer, medical chief with CLB-4. “We all have to be ready at any time.”
The two hospital corpsmen were relaxing in their sleeping quarters when EPT interpreters knocked on their door, telling the sailors to grab their medical supplies and come to the Afghan National Army medical tent, according to Ehlers.
“When we got to the tent, the first casualties had already been brought in,” said Ehlers. “(The ANA) were making trips back and forth from the accident site, bringing back groups of the injured.”
A civilian Afghan bus had crashed near the camp’s entry control point resulting in 28 casualties, including the death of five Afghan civilians.
“We were working with the ANA medics to provide the first level of care,” said Ehlers. “If (the casualties) needed a higher level of care, we sent them to the (Shock-Trauma Platoon).”
The sailors had previous experience instructing ANA medical personnel with the 5th Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, in battlefield medical care, but had not worked with Afghan medics in an operational environment until the March 25 mass casualty, according to Ehlers.
“We are here to train the trainers,” said Ehlers. “These ANA medics who go to our courses will be able to go back to their units and teach others.”
The ANA medics from the corpsmen’s most recent four-week course graduated March 17 and had already left Delaram II to assume their duties at different units throughout the ANA when the mass-casualty event occurred.
The Afghan medical personnel working to treat the injured civilians were not former students of the EPT corpsmen.
“Like any mass-casualty event, it was very chaotic but the (ANA) did well,” said Bismonte.
The rapid and professional conduct of the corpsmen in responding to the mass-casualty event directly led to the survival of casualties, according to Schaefer.
“I saw the bus … and it was near totally destroyed,” said Schaefer. “(The bus) looked like it had been bent in half … if it were not for our corpsmen, there would have been more killed.”