OGDENSBURG — Operation Commanding Force 2019 water mass casualty drill took place Monday on the St. Lawrence River, Wheat House Bay, with personnel from the United States Navy, Army, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, local emergency services, law enforcement and Sea Scouts.

The air temperature was 82 degrees Fahrenheit with the water temperature at a chilly 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the cold water, personnel donned mustang suits, helmets, and injury tags while in the water awaiting rescue.

The goal of the exercise was to familiarize participants with the concepts involved in a water mass casualty scenario in which an abandoned ship and victim retrieval are necessary. Through simulated injuries, corpsmen/medics were expected to perform continuous triage and care, as indicated, from water to shore.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jarred L. Harwood said Navy personnel from around the country attend annual training at Fort Drum. This is the first year for the water training event.

“We’ve done a two-week training the last 11 years, the last six of which were conducted at Fort Drum as a collaborative Army/Navy relationship,” said the commander. “This year we thought a sea training or scenario for our corpsmen would be useful. We asked the Coast Guard and Army if they would be interested in participating, and that’s what we’re doing today.”

Fractures, lacerations, and burns were among the many injuries acted out in this event.

“This training would be useful if there were a vessel on fire with people on board, or even during wartime,” said the commander. “The last time the Navy experienced heavy casualties was World War II and so we thought it was time to get them familiarized with this type of situation.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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