MEDFLAG 10: Mass casualty exercise

MEDFLAG 10: Mass casualty exercise
Image by US Army Africa
Spc. Kerry Thompson, a combat medic with the North Dakota National Guard’s 814th Army Support Medical Company based in Bismarck, carries a simulated injury patient to the waiting hands of an Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo soldier Sept. 17. in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kassidy Snyder

Congolese and American medical specialists participating in MEDFLAG 10 conducted a mass casualty exercise Sept. 16 as the culminating training event of the 10-day exercise.

The exercise followed four days of humanitarian assistance to Kinshasa residents by the combined forces.

Thursday’s scenario centered on a simulated bus crash resulting in approximately 50 casualties, and highlighted Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s quick reaction force (FARDC UMIR) demonstrating their techniques and skills as first responders to a catastrophe.

“My role was to check the level of bleeding and monitor the patient’s blood pressure once they arrived,” said Ndaya Lilian, a female UMIR laboratory technician. “Outside of the military I am a specialist in child delivery, and the experience and knowledge I gained over the last few weeks will help me out tremendously in the future.”

The UMIR unit demonstrated its expertise in three areas of response: picking up of casualties, triage at the advanced medical point, and a mobile surgery hospital. The hospital included three main services: emergencies, surgery room combined with intensive care and hospitalization.

As the exercise progressed, 1st Lt. Coty Sicble, a medical administrator with the North Dakota National Guard’s 814th Army Support Medical Company based in Bismarck, gave the audience a step-by-step narration of the action taking place. Sicble described the intense preparation and execution the UMIR members demonstrated during the exercise.

After the mass casualty exercise, participants conducted a closing ceremony at the Command and Staff College in Kinshasa, where the MEDFLAG 10 exercise first began Sept. 6.

“MEDFLAG 10 has taken place and was a moment of an intense scientific, technical, social and psychological communion in perfect harmony between the American forces and FARDC respective health services,” said FARDC Surgeon General Col. Gilbert Kabanda, during the closing ceremony, Sept. 17.

As part of MEDFLAG 10, U.S. and Congolese troops worked closely together to increase the combined readiness of their medical forces to respond to humanitarian emergencies. MEDFLAG is a key program in United States efforts to partner with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to further the development of a professional military that is accountable to civilian authority, and provides stability and security to the people.

“We can confirm, without contradiction, that MEDFLAG 10 has achieved all its objectives assigned by both military hierarchies, American and Congolese,” said Kabanda.

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