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48th Med Group train in realistic exercise

A volunteer Airman with simulated injuries waits for treatment during an annual training exercise at RAF Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. During this training exercise participants were placed in a variety high-stress scenarios involving different degrees of injuries. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

Airmen assigned the 48th Medical Group participate in an annual training exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. The 48th Medical Group is required to have training exercises similar to this one annually to meet training requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

A volunteer Airman with simulated injuries gets carried on a stretcher during an annual training exercise at Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. To help respond to the simulated incident, the field response teams comprising of medics, doctors, nurses and the ambulance crew worked together to tend to the simulated patients. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

Airmen assigned to the 48th Medical Group assist a volunteer with simulated injuries during an annual training exercise at RAF Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. During the exercise the Airmen were tasked with responding to mass casualty and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

An Airman from the 48th Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight coordinates with other exercise participants on a radio during an annual training exercise at RAF Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. This exercise provided an opportunity for Airmen to gain experience on parts of their job they don’t regularly conduct. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

Volunteer Airmen lay on stretchers during an annual training exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. The volunteers wore moulage to simulate a variety of injuries for the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

Airmen assigned to the 48th Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight receive instructions from their examiner during an annual training exercise at RAF Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. During the exercise examiners updated the participants on situation changes and evaluated their performance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

An Airman from the 48th Medical Group speaks with a volunteer with simulated injuries during an annual training exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 21, 2018. During the exercise more than 20 Airmen volunteered to be patients with simulated injuries. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher S. Sparks)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The air is dense with a mixture of fear and stress. It’s cold and brisk with an unrelenting breeze slowly numbing the feeling in their hands and feet. The cries for help from patients seem to quietly echo around the parking lot while the blood from their injuries slowly stains the ground.

Two Airmen quickly moved from patient to patient, focusing on their injuries and providing care.

With each passing minute the number of patients needing care seems to exponentially increase. An overwhelming feeling of uncertainty begin to grasp the two Airmen who were first on the scene. The cries slowly begin to crescendo into a choir of screams and moans.

This was the scene of a simulated attack as part of a field training exercise conducted by the 48th Medical Group here Feb 21.

During the exercise participants were tasked to respond to a mass casualty chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive scenario. They had to coordinate between different squadrons to address time sensitive scenarios and simulated injuries.

Once the exercise started, the first to arrive on scene was the ambulance crew. They were tasked with rendering care to those with simulated injuries. Starting with only a few, the crew began assisting the patients, but the number slowly grew as a new patients with varying injuries appeared every two minutes.

“That was initially the point,” said Capt. Shawn Banion, 48th Medical Group Wing Inspection Team lead. “We wanted to get them into an environment where there was chaos and they would have to manage that chaos. It was about as realistic as we could make it.”

To help respond to the incident, the field response team comprising of medics, doctors, nurses and the ambulance crew worked together to tend to the simulated patients. A variety of Airmen, including enlisted members and officers, joined forces throughout the training.

“Getting more involvement in the exercise from junior Airmen and interaction with senior leadership out in the field will definitely payoff for the Air Force in the long term,” Banion said.

Once the patients were all safely transported to the hospital, the 48th Bioenvironmental Flight sent in a team to survey and identify possible simulated radiological threats. For the 48th BEF, it was a great opportunity to practice their response capabilities and to sharpen their skills.

“Exercising is 100 percent vital to responding to real-world situations and making sure we are able to perform the way we are supposed to,” said Master Sgt. Chadwick Kinser, 48th BEF flight chief. “Tabletop exercises can only get you so far. Saying, ‘Yes, we can handle that capability,’ is one thing, but if you are able to demonstrate it you show people that they can count on you to do your part.”

The 48th Medical group plans to conduct more exercises throughout the year, with the next one scheduled later this spring.