Photo Information

Cpl. Gabe Anderson, from Moorhead, Minn., keeps a count of personnel as a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter lands behind 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines as they conduct a mass casualty evacuation exercise here Aug. 17. Members of the 11th MEU trained for several missions Aug. 16-17, including humanitarian assistance operations, noncombatant evacuation operations and mass casualty evacuations during the unit’s certification exercise, their final training before deploying later this year. Anderson is a motor transport mechanic with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, 11th MEU.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Ethan E. Rocke

Exercise tests MEU's humanitarian aid, medical response

17 Aug 2009 | Sgt. Scott Biscuiti 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Marines and sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit were tested on performing humanitarian aid and noncombatant and mass-casualty evacuations Aug. 16-17 during the unit's certification exercise and before deploying later this year.

Having forces at locations in San Diego, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., required sound resource management from leaders, said Capt. Kathryn Baker, the operations officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 11, the MEU’s combat logistics element.

CLB-11, comprised of more than 200 Marines and sailors, took the lead on all three operations, sending more and more personnel ashore as scenarios evolved.

Seaman Ronald Shaw, a hospital corpsman with the logistics battalion, went ashore with 23 other members of the CLB’s mass-casualty response team after a simulated improvised explosive device detonated during a humanitarian aid operation.

“We got the call while on ship,” said Shaw, a Houston native. “Then we started rockin' and rolling.”

The response team, consisting of 14 Marines and ten sailors, sprang into action. They loaded up into CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters on the flight deck of USS Bonhomme Richard and headed to the site.

The helicopters circled a village and landed on an overlooking hill.

“When we got close, we could hear everyone screaming and yelling,” said Shaw.

The team quickly set up a casualty collection point and went to work.

“My first patient had an open neck wound,” Shaw said. “There was blood everywhere.”

Shaw said the role players' acting, extensive makeup and mock injuries added much realism to the scenario.

“It caught me off guard,” he said. “It helps our training a lot ... not knowing what to expect.”

Patients had common blast injuries, broken bones and fractures and had to be carried on stretchers, giving the corpsmen and Marines a workout, said Shaw.

“I was worn out,” he said. “We had to carry stretchers and the walking wounded up the hill to the helicopters.”

First Lt. Michael Schultz, team officer-in-charge, said his goal is to be at a site no longer than 45-60 minutes. “We were out of there in 35,” he said.

“The workhorses of the team are the corpsmen,” said the Little Falls, N.J., native. “They are the ones out there saving lives.”

Four corpsmen served as initial responders to 15 patients. Stretcher bearers loaded the role players helicopters for transport back to the ship and further medical care.

“The team performed excellently,” Schultz said. “The Marines and sailors on the ship should know there is a team that will get them within an hour and take them home.”

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography

11th Marine Expeditionary Unit