By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo R. Guzman
YOKOSUKA, Japan (May 3, 2013) – Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) participated in a mass casualty drill May 3.
Sailors responded to a simulated flight-deck fire during the all-hands drill that resulted in a hangar bay fire with multiple casualties.
“We’ve conducted numerous drills during the past couple months to prepare for our upcoming patrol,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Nicolas Cuervo. “Today’s drill culminated in several ship-board teams, including flight deck, hangar bay and medical teams working together towards a resolution.”
The drill provided evolutions that enhance the crew’s muscle-memory to combat and respond to the possibility of a real-life situation.
“We focus on the maintenance side when we are in port and we focus on the operational side when at sea, so it’s important to do these drills to stay sharp,” said Cuervo. “I’ve been part of an actual casualty situation and many Sailors get in the mind frame that it will never happen. We focus on repetition and in doing so; it will be reactionary if a casualty ever does occur.”
A mass casualty drill tests the effectiveness of the crew by providing more casualties than what the medical department can support alone.
“The training is for corpsmen and Sailors to educate them on how to transfer and treat mass casualties,” said Lt. William Gallagher, a George Washington dental officer. “If there is a mass casualty, we need to keep people on their toes. It’s important that we learn to treat people quickly to get people in a stable condition, so that they can be transferred to an appropriate medical area.”
Sailors were required to simulate damage control, fire fighting, casualty evacuation and treatment.
“Sailors battled a fire and transferred casualties out of the scene to a triage area where medical then sorted out the injured and provided treatment,” said Cuervo.
Sailors simulate casualties with a variety of injuries during the drill, including smoke inhalation, broken limbs and different types of burns.
“From the corpsmen treating injuries to the ship’s crew conducting damage control and being stretcher bearers, it’s an all-hand evolution,” said Gallagher. “Learning how to use a stretcher can be extremely important. Casualties can occur in any part of the ship, so we need to learn the proper way to carry people up and down ladder wells.”
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For high resolution photos of USS George Washington (CVN 73), click on our new Flickr website at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uss_george_washington/