CAMP PENDLETON - The improvised explosive device is one of the deadliest weapons used against coalition forces in Afghanistan, but the odds of surviving have greatly improved thanks to battlefield medical techniques.
Tended to first by a corpsman in the field, the first stop is usually a shock trauma platoon and if needed, a forward resuscitative surgery system to stabilize patients.
That is the focus of a day-long exercise at Camp Pendleton for sailors and marines.
"Getting exposed to this and running through things with actors as patients will no doubt help when or if I deploy," said Navy Lt. Jg. Lonnie Meyers, who was taking part in this kind of drill for the first time.
Part of the drill also involved the highly-evolved cut suit, a prosthetic worn by actors that not only bleeds when cut into but contains internal organs.
"I've never worked with a cut suit before. It's really impressive," said Lt. Cdr. Elliott Ross, a Navy surgeon.
The idea behind the drill, which was rolled into the massive Dawn Blitz exercise, is to get everyone familiar with what they may face in a combat zone overseas.