Saturday, April 21, 2007

Allons Battalion experiences real-life mass casualties

FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq – When Soldiers train for combat treating mass casualties is often simulated, preparing them for the real deal.
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment and the 210th Brigade Support Battalion who are attached to the 2-15, both of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) experienced a real-life mass casualty at the aid station on Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah, Iraq April 8.
The Soldiers provided medical care to more than 26 Iraqis who were brought in for wounds suffered from terrorist attacks.
“I felt good that I was able to be at the site to help them (the Iraqis),” said Pfc. Lisa Dueker, a 210th BSB medic attached to 2-15 and native of Carbondale, Ill. “Helping them makes me feel like I am contributing … I know why I am here (in Iraq).”
Of the Iraqis treated were four children, one who suffered a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen.
“I have three children of my own and it makes me sad to see violence toward such innocent people,” said Capt. Damon Cudihy, a native of Marietta, Ga., who currently serves as the 2-15 surgeon. “Seeing these children hurt is indicative of the nature of evil that is going on here.”
As people were pouring into the aid station Soldiers from all over the FOB were there ready to lend a helping hand.
“I always help out when I can,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Rich West, the 2-15 chaplain and native of San Diego. “I am also here to console the Iraqis if they need it and let them know that everything is going to be okay.”
As West and other Soldiers worked diligently to aid the Iraqis, a medic spoke of what it was like to be there.
“We have always trained for this (a mass casualty), but I never expected it,” said Spc. Cecilia Morales, a 210th medic attached to 2-15 and native of San Diego. “The one thing that got to me was seeing the hurt children; the terrorists have no compassion for life.”
Dueker took a moment to explain why the Iraqis are being treated by the Americans.
“We realize that the local towns have limited medical care and cannot do what we can in terms of care,” she explained. “We don’t turn anyone away; if they do not receive the proper treatment they could die.”
Throughout the day the patients were seen for injuries ranging from shrapnel to burns and gunshot wounds.
“The patient that I was treating had a shrapnel wound in the back of her leg … you could see her bone,” Dueker said of a wounded Iraqi girl.
The injured girl’s mother wept as she spoke of the Americans.
“The Americans see that the Iraqis are injured and help,” said Lateefh Moder Salmon, a resident of Mahmudiyah. “I cannot believe what the terrorists have done … they hurt my daughter and the Americans are helping.”
After all patients were treated, the battalion commander commended them for their performance.
“We have a great aid station and Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Bob Morschauser, the 2-15 commander and native of Fairless Hills, Penn. “They all pulled together and did an outstanding job.”
The following day Morschauser recognized each of the Soldiers with a battalion coin - a small token of appreciation for know that their work saved lives.

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