Thursday, June 21, 2012

Maryland Defense Force Participates in Operation STAT Disaster Drill

By COL (MDDF) H. Wayne Nelson, LTC (MDDF) Elizabeth Austin
April 20, 2012

On April 20, 2012 Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) personnel worked side by side with Maryland National Guard ambulance units, local police units, emergency medical technicians, nurses, nursing students, the Maryland State Funeral Directors Association disaster response team and public health professionals in response to a simulated earthquake at Towson University. This field training exercise called Operation STAT was a mass casualty calamity drill designed to practice a coordinated agency response and to introduce Towson University nursing students to disaster triage.

Operation STAT is in its fourth year and it gave MDDF personnel the opportunity to work beside community partners to enhance interagency cooperation, planning, command and control in a disaster situation. The MDDF 10th Medical Regiment contributed 35 personnel and provided operational leadership. There were 37 MDDF personnel from other units including the Finance Corps, Judge Advocate Corps, the Military Support Unit and the Operations and Training Unit. Towson University provided 546 student “victims” who were treated during the exercise.

Many of the student victims were moulaged with fake blood, bruises, broken bones, impalements and abrasions. This created a sense of realism for the exercise which lasted just under four hours. The MDDF 10th Medical Regiment provided medical, nursing and mental health personnel on site to coach student nurses in the treatment of the injured. The 10th Medical Regiment commander, Col. (MDDF) Walter Hettinger noted that, “It is a nice refresher course for immediate trauma stabilization.”

Other MDDF units provided operational support for the exercise through treatment area set-up, the tracking of supplies, the tracking of patients, radio communication, incident command support and public affairs. Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, Public Affairs Officer of the Maryland National Guard enthusiastically commented that “Everybody is learning, everybody!” Brig. Gen. (MDDF) Brian R. Kelm, the commanding general of the MDDF noted that “the moulage, the expected scenarios and even some unexpected injects were all accomplished in an exemplary manner. Bravo Zulu!”

The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is the State’s uniformed volunteer military unit providing professional and technical assistance to the Maryland Military Department. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 450 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. For more information: