PIT crew brings realism to Pacific Lifeline exercise

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jennifer Gerhardt
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 446th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron aren't being graded on the test, but their work impacts those involved with the Pacific Lifeline exercise.

Known as the PIT crew, 16 Reservists from McChord are adding realism to the training provided in Pacific Lifeline.

PIT actually stands for patient insertion team. The team is in charge of creating simulated patients and putting moulage on 100 dummies.

Pacific Lifeline is a total force exercise designed to practice the military's ability to rapidly deploy a trained, equipped team anywhere in the Pacific in response to a humanitarian assistance or disaster scenario. Approximately 900 Department of Defense members will participate in the 13th Air Force-led exercise.

"They're totally behind the scenes, but they're the key to executing the whole exercise," said Maj. Peter Jorganson of the 446th ASTS.

There is a lot more to creating the "victims" than meets the eye. The team decides each victim's name, rank and branch of service. They also decide if the victim is in need of routine or urgent care. Once that's determined, they create what happened to the victim and what symptoms are being exhibited.

"One of the patients we created is an upset pregnant woman who can't find her husband and child," said Lt. Col. Karen Winter of the 446th AMDS. "She is bleeding and starting to go into labor."

This type of realism is important because in a humanitarian assistance or disaster response, emergency responders could likely be responding to a pregnant woman, an unconscious child, or an elderly person with chest pains.

There's a lot more to prepping the victims than just slapping some makeup on a plastic dummy. Moulage, which is a life-like mold of an injury, is applied to the anatomically correct dummies. The injuries aren't randomly applied -- instead, they have to mirror the conditions of the exercise, in this case a super typhoon.

"We will moulage the victims the night before each day's scenarios," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Cleve, the chief nurse for 446th AMDS. "Then when the exercise begins, we insert the moulage patients into the system through the mobile aeromedical staging facility."

Once the dummies and their records are in the system, the PIT crew prepares for the next day's scenarios.