Monday, August 15, 2005

Military Question - Battalion aid station?

A very good friend of mine just touched down in the Middle East for an 18 month tour in Iraq. He's a physician and will be operating a small aid station attached to an infantry battalion. I'm having a tough time envisioning what such a place is. The only image I have in my head is from watching M*A*S*H, but I suspect that image is inaccurate.

Anyone familiar with such things?


Blogger RTO Trainer said...

Each Battalion HQ has a Medical Section. This section operates ambulances and a casualty collection point.

Casualties receive Buddy Aid (preferably from a Combat Lifesaver) and medevac (medical evacualtion) is requested. An ambulance (automotive or rotary wing) takes them to the casualty collection point. There they get triaged, evaluated, treated/stabilized. They can be held at Battlaion Aid, returned to duty, or evacuated to a field hospital or a brick and mortar hospital all depending on the nature and extent of their injuries.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

Hmmm, I wonder where you could find somebody who might know soemthing about this?

Maybe you could find a blog that has two Army field grade officers in the lineup...


RTO has correctly described how the system works. I am sure you will have more questions about the physical facilites, quality of life, etc. Those vary - you will have to get word from your friend about what he lives in, works in, etc. If he is up at an FOB (Forward Operating Base), then I will turn you over to our very own Inner Prop, who commanded one such animal in Afghanistan. Of course, his was a Brigade level FOB, so he had a hospital, rahter than an aid station.
He will probably be living in some sort of containerized housing (20 or 40 ft. containers turned into housing, sorry, no double wides) or tents that have been reinforced with wooden frames/walls, roofing, etc. If he is in a built up area, perhaps a refurbished building. At least, I hope they have managed to do such for him. You do try to take care of the medical folks...God knows their job is stressful enough. I watched people at our Level III hospital in Bagram burn out from the work - I did what I could to help, but felt quite helpless actually.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Inner Prop said...

The 1-501st PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment the original Geronimo) were in Salerno the first half of my deployment and they operated an Aid Station next to our CSH (Combat Surgical Hospital).

The Aid station was in a GP medium tent (16’x36’) with a wooden floor, which was the standard housing/office tent at the time on the base. They had a few wooden beds for patients and some shelves for supplies. They ran the sick call on the base and coordinated the medics.

Marines replaced the 1-501st. They don’t have their own medics, but use Navy Corpsmen. I don’t know if they had an actual Aid Station since it may have been positioned at one of their other 5 bases (the 1-501st were all at Salerno and not spread out as much). They did have a section of medics that operated out of a Temper tent (very similar to a GP medium but bigger at 20’x40’).

Nowadays they would most likely be living in a single story brick billet (each with 4 townhouse-like rooms with total outside dimensions of 36’x80’). Salerno was and is moving to making that the housing for everyone on the base.

Sometime I will have to post the story of the brick billets. The part about “Major Thomas and the KBR Design Fairies” is particularly funny (to me, not to Major Thomas).

5:09 PM  
Blogger Mighty Quinn said...

Thanks, fellas. I've directed my buddy to this site already. However, he's in transit apparently and will be out of contact for a couple weeks. As soon as he gets established I'll try to get him to post what he can. It'll mean a lot to him to talk with people who 'get' what he's going through. He left a wife and two kids back in the states...I'm sure you can relate :-)

8:33 AM  
Blogger Major John said...

MQ - if you want, once he gets settled, I can send him an "invitation" to join the blog. He'd have the same posting abilities as you. He could be the 'Miserable Donuts Iraq Correspondent'. If that doesn't cheer a body up, nothing will!

8:44 AM  

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