TAMC tests its resolve

| July 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

Medics examine and treat a mock patient at TAMC, July 14, during the RIMPAC mass casualty exercise.

William Sallette
Tripler Army Medical Center
Public Affairs


HONOLULU — Tripler Army Medical Center conducted a mass casualty exercise, July 14, as part of the Navy’s bi-annual Rim of the Pacific exercise.

The joint-service MASCAL was based on a scenario that involved a 7.9 earthquake that devastated the island of Griffon, leaving thousands injured and displacing millions.

Within an hour of the beginning of the exercise, the TAMC disaster response team transformed the emergency room parking lot into a makeshift triage center and almost immediately was being flooded with casualties arriving by air with a wide variety of major injuries.

“The MASCAL exercise was just a small portion of the overall RIMPAC exercise, but was in no way small,” said Joseph Chestnut, emergency manager, TAMC. “The MASCAL included more than 250 patients that were dispersed to 20 hospitals on four different islands by air, land and sea, and TAMC treated more than 60 of those patients.”



A MEDEVAC helicopter from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th ID, arrives at the Tripler Army Medical Center helipad to drop off roll player patients, July 14.


TAMC conducts a MASCAL every year, but during RIMPAC 2016, the medical center had the opportunity to test more of its capabilities, such as the ability to receive patients by helicopter.

“The placement of TAMC on the island, at such a high elevation, allows it to stay clear of many of the natural disasters,” said Chestnut. “TAMC is also the only hospital on the island that can accommodate large helicopters, like a Chinook. When a natural disaster occurs, the military will play a major role in aid. And having this ability, TAMC can easily assist in the evacuation and treatment of patients.”

TAMC tests its true abilities annually and increases the size and scope of the MASCAL. The future doesn’t look to change that.

“The exercise grows every year, and we intend to grow it even more in 2018,” said Chestnut. “We want to bring in more casualty’s, more aircraft, more hospitals, more, more, more. TAMC did so well treating this years casualties, we want to increase everything.”

TAMC practices mass casualty exercises to prepare for real world situations and has responded to a number of real world MASCAL situations in the last few years. The full spectrum of services at TAMC allows it to be one of only six hospitals in Hawaii that is designated as a National Disaster Medical System.

“I was able to view the MASCAL before I took command and I was excited to see that the staff here at TAMC is prepared to handle whatever situation may occur,” said Col. Andrew Barr, TAMC commander. “Readiness is one of our core focuses here at Tripler and it clearly showed during this exercise.”


Capt. Krzysiek Middleman (right), third-year resident at Tripler Army Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Clinic and Intensive Care Unit and Pvt. Mitchell Clyburn, radiology student, carry a mock patient to the operating room during the Rim of the Pacific Mass Casualty exercise July 14.




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Category: Exercises, News

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