NS Norfolk Community
Bataan Conducts Mass Casualty Drill
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and Sailors of a Casualty Receiving Treatment Ship team (CRTS) conducted a mass casualty drill as a part of a continued commitment to mission readiness January 17.
A mass casualty is any type of medical emergency that overwhelms what the Medical department is able to take care of routinely. About 50 Sailors from the Bataan teamed up with 134 medical staff from Fleet Surgical Medical Team Six and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s Casualty Receiving Treatment Ship (CRTS) team to conduct the drill.
“This training was required many years ago. When deployments were happening more on land it wasn’t as critical due to the fact that the war wasn’t in the water,” said Cmdr. Michele Sprotsy, Lead Medical Training Team of Naval Station Norfolk’s Medical Readiness Division that came aboard to assess the drill. “Now as things wind down land-side, we’re concerned that the next war will be by sea. We want Sailors ready to handle any casualties that may come while at sea.”
During the drill the ship’s crew and medical teams trained on two casualty areas in the ship’s well deck and on the flight deck. Each casualty area consisted of six patients that had various simulated injuries and differing states of criticalness.
A Casualty Receiving Treatment Ship is Bataan’s secondary role as a large medical asset during deployment and being able to train with CRTS counterparts is critical to mission readiness and success if the occasion arises.
“These folks are on a standby platform and may be called at any time to join Bataan and the Fleet Surgical Team aboard to bring us from our minimal surgical capability to our war-time manning,” said Lt. Michael Schaffer, Bataan’s medical administration officer. “By bringing on an extra 84 medical personnel we are able to become a level two hospital ship capable of receiving massive amounts of casualties sustained throughout a major combat operation.”
For some personnel on the CRTS who have never stepped on a ship, it was an opportunity to integrate with the crew and train with special medical equipment, which brings the Bataan one step closer to being ready for the upcoming deployment.