USS Bonhomme Richard and Other Ships Holds RIMPAC Medical Exercise
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors role-playing as medical casualties from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) were flown to USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) for treatment during a Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 mass casualty exercise July 9.

The purpose behind training for mass casualties is to better prepare the ship's company, primarily security and medical personnel, to respond to potential emergency situations.

"Mass casualty drills are designed to help Sailors and Marines become more proficient in how to triage and identify which causalities are more severe and which ones are less, and who will be medically evacuated to other medical facilities," said Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW/SCW/FMF) Brad Kowitz, leading chief petty officer of Bonhomme Richard's medical department.

During mass casualty drills, personnel are categorized by the condition of their injuries and are brought to a temporary medical facility for urgent treatment and holding until better medical arrangements can be made.

"As a casualty-receiving treatment ship, our job is to receive the casualty, stabilize them and move them to the next level of care," said Kowitz.

During the mass casualty drill, Sailors played different roles including that of the victim. Sailors in this role appeared lifeless, screamed for help or demonstrated signs of injuries while their shipmates arranged medical treatments. Stretcher-bearers, medical personnel and security staff assisted victims in shock while setting boundaries and safely transporting personnel to medical triage.

"Overall we did superbly, and the Navy and Marine Corps integration was perfect," said Cmdr. Eileen Hoke, Bonhomme Richard's senior medical officer.

RIMPAC is a biennial, multinational exercise design to strengthen regional partnerships and improve multinational interoperability.
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