Personnel assigned to Camp Lemonnier and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) participated in a bilateral exercise with French troops here, Sept. 6. The purpose was to exercise multiple unit support and response to a mass casualty (MASCAL) incident.
In the simulated scenario, a van of U.S. military personnel rolled over while en route to its destination. Several of the wounded were surgical patients who required assistance from the French military partners.
Due to staffing and capacity restraints, planning ahead for mass casualty events is crucial. Camp Lemonnier’s Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF) has several operating rooms and a surgeon, but working with partner nations is a logical way to increase the number of people who can be attended to quickly during a mass casualty event.
“The French Hospital is a much larger facility and brings a robust capability to help assist with MASCAL situations and also with surgical needs,” said U.S. Army Maj. Ryan Morrissey, assigned to the CJTF-HOA surgeon cell.
In addition to two French personnel who participated in the exercise, approximately 30 personnel representing multiple agencies at Camp Lemmonier, such as Personnel Recovery Coordination Cell, Fire Department, Command Post, and Mortuary Affairs, gathered to talk through the necessary steps each organization would take in response to a MASCAL situation.
“We tested and validated notifications and communications within all the different command elements during this exercise,” said Morrissey. “The biggest success was how much the players learned about each other's capabilities and how they normally respond to a situation like this. CJTF-HOA personnel learned how Camp Lemonnier’s Emergency Management operates and how they stand up a Crisis Incident Command Post.
The tabletop exercise was a first step in preparation for a future, more comprehensive bilateral exercise with French forces to further strengthen international military relationships and medical capabilities.