Marines, sailors evacuate injured Marine from JWTC
By Lance Cpl. Henry J. Antenor
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | May 24, 2013
CAMP GONSALVES, OKINAWA, Japan --
Marines and sailors train daily in every clime and place to sharpen their skills. They hone them to near perfection without knowing when and where they will be called upon to perform.
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
CH-46E Sea Knights
Henry J. Antenor
HMM-262. Marine Aircraft Group 36
III Marine Expeditionary Force
John S. Stout
Jungle Warfare Training Center
Larry G. Brown
Marine Corps Installations Pacific
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262
Michael D. Soehren
Paul C. Herrera
Robert A. Weimer
US Naval Medical Hospital Okinawa
Marines with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 coordinated with Marines and sailors assigned to the Jungle Warfare Training Center, Camp Gonsalves, May 8 to execute a real-world medical evacuation of Lance Cpl. Robert A. Weimer after he suffered a complex fracture of his right leg.
Weimer, a rifleman with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program, suffered the injury while conducting training patrols in the dense jungle environment.
“I slipped off a hill and fell into a ditch where my right leg was caught, and the momentum carried me forward until it broke,” said Weimer. “The hospital corpsman at the scene applied first aid and a field-expedient splint with two bars longer than my shin and a bandage wrapped around it to immobilize my leg.”
Fortunately, the JWTC instructors are constantly training and preparing to respond to potential injuries, according to Cpl. John S. Stout, a JWTC instructor.
“Part of the training we do simulates different scenarios that could happen out here,” said Stout. “For example, the staff noncommissioned officers would tell us that someone is lost or injured, and they would inform us of the last known position. Our job would be to go out, find them, and bring them back safely.”
The training prepared them for situations like Weimer’s, and when they determined the best way to move Weimer was by aircraft, they executed flawlessly, according to Stout.
“Once we were prepared to move Weimer, we requested air support,” said Stout. “We put him on a stretcher, loaded him into an ambulance, and cleared an area about 250 feet away to be used as a landing zone. By having all the necessary gear and constantly training in scenarios like this, we were able to effectively treat and transport Weimer.”
At the time Weimer suffered his injury, a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter was conducting mountainous terrain training in the Northern and Central Training Areas of Okinawa.
Upon receiving the request for air support and having its flight rerouted, the helicopter and crew arrived on scene in about 10 minutes, according to Capt. Paul C. Herrera, a pilot with HMM-262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.
“The training the squadron was conducting came into play when we used the same procedures to evaluate the landing zone, locate ground personnel, and coordinate with them to get Weimer on board,” said Herrera, whose squadron also conducted a successful MEDEVAC from USNS Sacagawea to USNH Okinawa May 5.
Weimer was transported to USNH Okinawa within an hour, where he underwent successful surgery later that day.
Weimer appreciates the combined efforts of the staff at JWTC, HMM-262 and the hospital.
“I wish I would not have been injured. Nonetheless, it was really incredible to see all of these units come together and perform flawlessly,” said Weimer. “My experience could have been much worse were it not for the training each of the units perform on a regular basis.”