Bataan's Medical Team Prepare for Unknown in Haiti

Story Number: NNS100118-01Release Date: 1/18/2010 8:52:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ash Severe, USS Bataan (LHD 5) Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- To prepare for the possibility of treating Haitian earthquake survivors, medical professionals aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) conducted a mass casualty drill Jan. 17.

"Today we put together a mass casualty drill to train up the new (fleet surgical team (FST)) and (ship's) medical team, stretcher bearers and masters-at-arms," said Cmdr. Melanie Merrick, senior medical officer aboard Bataan.

"We don't know what we'll receive from the beach; it could be a variety of things from trauma to just providing humanitarian aid," said Cmdr. William Wallace, FST 8 officer-in-charge. "As the mission continues to develop, we have to be ready for any possibility. Injuries can happen, and we need to be ready."

During the two-hour drill, the teams worked together to handle roughly eight casualties, whose injuries range from leg and face traumas to third-degree burns.

"The major objective of this training is to help integrate the fleet surgical team with the ship's medical department," said Wallace. "Our FST is new to Bataan, and we need to see how Bataan does business and match up what we know and exchange knowledge. We can teach them some things; they can teach us some things, and it's just good training for our corpsmen."

The medical department has four operating rooms, a blood bank, a medical lab and a pharmacy. The ship's at-sea medical facilities are second only to USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) and USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).

Bataan, USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) deployed to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response in order to provide military support capabilities to civil authorities and to help stabilize and improve the situation in the wake of this disaster.

For more news from USS Bataan (LHD 5), visit

1/22/2010 9:00:00 PM
My son-in-law, Nathan Rinehart,is aboard the Bataan in the Beachmaster unit. My family is especially proud of him for strength, intelligence, and most of all his kindness to others. He was just telling me about a child he met from Haiti today. Anyone who in a time of crisis like this that can take the time to engage a small scared child is fantastic in our eyes. We love you Nathan and think of you everyday. We are so proud of you!

1/19/2010 7:35:00 PM
Go Navy Go, I am a former Yeomen 2nd class, Vietnam Era, COMSUBPAC and USS Dixon. I am following your magnificant response to the Haiti disaster. And I am very proud of you.

1/19/2010 5:06:00 PM
My son, Nathan Rinehart, is an attachment to the Bataan. He is with the Beachmasters. I am so proud of him and the work he and his commarades do. He is only 21 years old, but is actually more mature than anyone I know. He and the soldiers on the Bataan are doing such good things, I just can't express in words how I feel about that! All I can say is "YOU GO GUYS"! LOVE YOU ALL AND THE THINGS YOU ARE DOING.

1/19/2010 10:15:00 AM
I also love seing the Bataan on the news but i havent had any contact with my husband and hopefully they'll be home really soon since they just got back from a 7th month deployment.

1/19/2010 6:00:00 AM
While I love seeing the Bataan on the news, I have had no contact with my husband aboard the ship. I realize you are busy, super busy but any update would give my kids a sense of comfort. You guys stay safe, complete the mission and head home to us. We love you and stand with you 100%.
1/19/2010 -- Response From USS Bataan (LHD 5)
I sent you a separate e-mail correspondence. I'm happy to help put you and your husband in touch.

1/18/2010 11:31:00 PM
God Speed, shipmates !!!!!! This old corpsman is VERY proud of you !
1/19/2010 -- Response From USS Bataan (LHD 5)
I'll pass along your encouragement to the entire medical team on Bataan. Thanks for your service and your support.

1/18/2010 11:48:00 AM
Our son LT Craig T Fossee is the Junior Medical Officer aboard the Mighty Bataan and we are very proud that he is contributing to help those in need.
1/19/2010 -- Response From USS Bataan (LHD 5)
The entire medical department has been working around the clock to prepare for this mission. They're ready! Bataan’s medical capabilities are second only to U.S. Navy hospital ships and include more than 50 medical professionals as well as X-ray facilities, operating rooms, an intensive care unit, pharmacy, and laboratory.

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t. Craig Fossee practices examining a patient aboard the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) during a mass casualty drill to prepare for patients from Haiti.
100117-N-3165S-132 ATLANTIC OCEAN, (Jan. 17, 2010) Lt. Craig Fossee practices examining a patient aboard the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) during a mass casualty drill to prepare for patients from Haiti. Bataan is in transit to Haiti to support Operation Unified Response, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response in the aftermath of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Steinhour/Released)
January 19, 2010
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