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NEWS | April 27, 2022

Pacific Guardians Tests Its Readiness for Battlefield Medicine through Dragon Fury 2022

By Inkyeong Yun, 549th Hospital Center/Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital

CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea — Pacific Guardians Soldiers continuously hone their skills to embody a true ready medical force.
The 502nd Field Hospital (FH), one of the two field hospitals under the 549th Hospital Center (HC), successfully showcased its medical and operational capabilities of providing expeditionary battlefield medicine from Apr. 23 to 27, 2022, as part of the 65th Medical Brigade’s Pacific Medic Lift.

Throughout the exercise, the 502nd FH successfully deployed and established a 32-bed field hospital, executed assigned missions and training, supported the intra-theater evacuation plan, and identified opportunities to improve resource allocation.

What was special about this exercise was that the FH had put in extra effort to facilitate multiple training lanes to maximize the Soldiers’ time spent out at the field training exercise.
The 502nd FH embedded multiple hands-on training lanes for Soldiers assigned to both FHs and the Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital. The training lanes were designed to practice and assess collective mission essential tasks (MET), Army warrior task and battle drills (AWTBD), and individual critical task list (ICTL) competencies.

The FH utilized the field training site to exercise Expert Field Medical Badge tasks, Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear incident response, Army Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills training, education on Tactical Operations Center and Field Hospital setup, and M4 range.

This special training opportunity helped Soldiers improve their familiarity and proficiencies on their Modification Table of Organization and Equipment (MTOE) and also to provide patient care in a tactical environment to further enhance their understanding of the (Field Hospital’s) Role III capabilities.

Following the crawl and walk phase training phases, the culminating event was a mass casualty (MASCAL) exercise testing medical interoperability with realistic scenarios as part of the 65th Medical Brigade’s Pacific Medic Focus 22-1. Mock casualties including military working dogs evacuated to the FH presenting with a wide range of injuries.

Challenged with a large influx of patients, the medical team appropriately triaged and diligently treated the wounded from the emergency room to the Operating Room to the Intensive or Intermediate Care Ward based on the types of injuries and treatment required.

The 502nd FH’s 32-bed main hospital consisted of an Emergency Room, Radiology, Pharmacy, Laboratory, Pre-operation hold area, Operating Room, Intensive Care Unit, and Intermediate Care Ward. Each section is thoughtfully designed and arranged to maximize patient care and flow.

Throughout the exercise, the 502nd FH Soldiers showcased their expertise in the planning, coordination, and setup of a complex modular medical treatment facility designed to provide Role 3 in support of Eighth Army-Korea's unified land operation.

During this exercise, the 549th HC also stood up a first-ever fully functional tactical operations center (TOC) serving as the 549th HC’s command and control hub, assisting the commander in synchronizing operations. Throughout the exercise, the staff were able to plan, coordinate, and monitor key events that occurred. The HC staff confirmed that they can receive, analyze and distribute information while making informed recommendations to the commander for decision.

“We strive every day to provide our beneficiaries with excellent healthcare during armistice or peacetime. We also continually train for expeditionary combat healthcare delivery to maintain combat readiness should we transition to hostility,” said Col. Huy Q. Luu, Commander of the 549th HC and Director of the BDAACH.

“By successfully completing this training event, the FH validated its expeditionary capabilities to rapidly set up and provide excellent battlefield medicine in an austere environment.”
In 2019, the 121st Combat Support Hospital was converted from its 248-bed legacy into the 549th HC with two 32-bed field hospitals (121st FH and 502nd FH) task-organized underneath it. Four additional detachments – 125th Medical Detachment (60-bed ICW), the 129th Medical Detachment (24-bed surgical), the 150th Medical Detachment (32-bed medical), and the 197th Medical Detachment (60-bed ICW). Altogether, the HC has 240 beds.

Having two field hospitals improves flexibility and provides the necessary medical capabilities to help the Army achieve its aim of establishing a versatile, agile, and expeditionary medical force depending on the conditions of the battlefield.

The 549th HC is the only HC in the Active United States Army that consists of two fully equipped FHs and a Medical Detachment capable of treating and evacuating damage control surgical patients to a higher echelon of care. Through rigorous and continual training, the 549th HC embodies a true agile ready medical force in the U.S. Army.