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Shock Trauma Platoon practices saving Marines

By Sgt. Ken Griffin | | December 20, 2002

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Exercise Steel Knight 03 aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Dec. 3-11 was the perfect opportunity for Shock Trauma Platoon, Combat Service Support Group-11, to test their expedient nature and practice what they do best: keeping Marines alive.

The STP boarded CH-46 helicopters and, for the first time, flew to a forward position to help treat an overflow of simulated combat-related injuries for 1st Tank Battalion's Battalion Aid Station.  Upon stabilizing and treating the overflow of patients, STP took over the 1st Tanks BAS, allowing the battalion to move to a different strategic position further north in the training area.

The platoon's essential gear and personnel were flown into Tanks' position, and the rest arrived shortly after by truck.  The team immediately began setting up and preparing for the worst.

To help add to the platoon's self-sustaining nature, they provided their own security team as well as medical personnel.

"We were able to deploy two emergency room doctors, one physician's assistant, an independent duty corpsman and six regular corpsmen," said Chief Elmer Mercado, medical planner, Brigade Service Support Group 1.  "The important issue is that these doctors bring valuable medical experience to the table that other units may not have.

Another capability STP brings to the table is their ability to augment a medical unit during or after a Nuclear, Chemical or Biological attack.  The "dirty" unit would decontaminate patients and send them to STP, the "clean" unit.

Although it was the first time STP has deployed in this manner, the exercise was highly successful in that it allowed observers from their unit to help shape future doctrine and gave the docs ample training in treating multiple patients at once.

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