KIN BLUE TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan (July 26, 2010) --
Natural disasters or political conflict can cause the U.S. State Department to order an evacuation of U.S. citizens from a foreign country. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit must be prepared for challenges like this as a part of the Maritime Contingency Force for the Asia-Pacific Region.
A 12-man mobile team from Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st MEU, was sent to Camp Schwab to set up a mock evacuation control center as part of an exercise, July 22.
The ECC is comprised of three stages. Members of a mobile team conduct full body searches looking for any types of weapons or contraband. Citizens are then screened for any illnesses, allergies or other types of medical problems. Once the medical screening is over, the citizens are administratively processed and then transported to a safe location.
During the exercise, a truck carrying 12 evacuees was hit by a simulated improvised explosive device. Then the MEU’s Nightingale team flew in via CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter to retrieve the simulated wounded. The team is normally comprised of about 9 service members including U.S. Navy corpsmen and a medical officer. Military policemen, landing support specialists and communication Marines were also used to facilitate security and communication during the training evolution. The purpose of the team is to treat, stabilize and evacuate casualties from hostile areas for further treatment.
“The training gave everyone a chance to see the components of an ECC and how it operates,” said Pfc. Jason Sanchez, an administrative clerk with CLB-31and a mock casualty for the exercise. “A lot of us haven’t done this sort hands-on training before so it was a good learning experience, plus the addition of the Nightingale team made it more realistic and chaotic.”
Once flown to a safe location, the simulated casualties were then brought to Kin Blue where a complete evaluation was conducted.
Lt. Col. William E. Arick III, CLB-31 commanding officer, said the training evolution and CLBEX are vital for preparation as part of the MEU’s fall patrol.
“Marines within the battalion must be ready to perform their duties in an exemplary manner,” he said. “Our goal is to build a strong team and keep it a solid unit to support the entire 31st MEU.”