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Medics train for rapid response

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th Medical Group chief nurse, right, applies moulage to a simulated patient at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th Medical Group chief nurse, right, applies moulage to a simulated patient at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019. Lockhart applied the simulated wounds to players for a mass-casualty exercise testing 20th MDG Airmen’s casualty care skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th Medical Group chief nurse, left, pours simulated blood on Staff Sgt. Kyle Graciano, 20th MDG laboratory noncommissioned officer in charge, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th Medical Group chief nurse, left, pours simulated blood on Staff Sgt. Kyle Graciano, 20th MDG laboratory noncommissioned officer in charge, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019. Simulated blood was placed on the participants to promote realism during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Airmen and Team Shaw members participate in a mass casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airmen and Team Shaw members participate in a mass casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019. Simulated victims added to the stress of the event by pretending to yell in pain at first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group carry a litter during a mass casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group carry a litter during a mass casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019. Airmen carried simulated patients to the 20th MDG building to provide care in a secure location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Rogers, 20th Medical Group mental health technician, listens to two Team Shaw members during a mass casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Rogers, 20th Medical Group mental health technician, listens to two Team Shaw members during a mass casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019. Airmen from the 20th MDG mental health flight spoke with simulated patients to practice coping techniques following a traumatic event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th Medical Group chief nurse, center left, speaks after the conclusion of the mass casualty exercise held at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th Medical Group chief nurse, center left, speaks after the conclusion of the mass casualty exercise held at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Aug. 1, 2019. Lockhart applied moulage to simulated patients and coached other members of the 20th MDG during the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Benjamin Ingold)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --

Airmen from the 20th Medical Group held a mass-casualty exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, August 1.

The exercise intended to prepare Shaw Weasel medics for a dynamic care environment, both in-garrison and downrange.

“You don’t know how you’re going to respond to something until you’re in it,” said Lt. Col. Cheryl Lockhart, 20th MDG chief nurse. “We wanted the medics to identify what skills they need to brush up on when they are in the heat of the moment.”

The event began with a simulated explosion at a picnic and ended at the 20th MDG building. Different departments were presented challenges throughout the exercise as patient conditions changed.

“We wanted to create a situation where there was a sense of stress and urgency,” said Col. Christian Lyons, 20th MDG commander. “There were a lot of casualties and they needed to triage them appropriately.”

Instead of simulating the causalities being taken off base by Sumter emergency services, the medics cared for the patients on base longer to train for a potential base lockdown. The exercise tested Airmen’s flexibility as the medics provided care to patients with simulated worsening symptoms.

“I am very happy and humbled by our medics,” said Lyons. “I can say confidently that they are ready to rise to the occasion in a disaster situation and take care of our base and community.”