Simulation helps train soldiers, officials

October 8, 2009 1:35:40 AM PDT
A major military training exercise took place around Fort Bragg Wednesday to make sure soldiers and civilians are on the same page in case of disaster.It's common place for military aircraft to fly thousands of missions over Fayetteville and neighboring communities.

Operation Orbit Comet was just a test Wednesday morning to see how well emergency responders work together to save lives.

During the simulation, flames shot 30 feet into the air from where a C-130 cargo plane smashed into homes in the Linden Oaks housing area in Harnett County. Bodies of the injured were sprawled all over the place.

Even though it was just a military training exercise, for several firefighters, emergency workers and medics, it was as important as the real deal.

"We rely very much on the fire department and the fire chief to initially assess the scene, put out the fires and give us the go ahead to go in and take care of anyone who may be injured," Aerospace Medicine Chief LTC Allan Ward said.

A triage area was setup for those who were injured to get seen by medical personnel.

"I got a laceration right here intestines are coming out and I'm supposed to be for immediate care," Fort Bragg soldier Specialist Jose Vacquez said.

The wounds can be pretty realistic and graphic. The exercise is an eye-opener to young paratroopers like Staff Sergeant Nelson Gil who flies and jumps out of C-130 aircrafts all the time.

"I've been in here for a while at Fort Bragg, the whole 10 years you know, seeing stuff like this kind of makes you feel safer with our EMS and everybody else that works for us," Gil said.

The accident would have caused Pfc Bo Jacobs to receive burns on her face and other parts of her body.

"It's very fast pace," Jacobs said. "Unfortunately I wasn't able to walk away from the scene, but I got response in time to save my life."

That's what officials said the training is all about, the military and civilian emergency response teams learning to work together to save lives during a real disasters.

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