The Combat Casualty Simulation Laboratory at Camp
Johnson, N.C., looks like
the set of the grisliest slasher movie
one could imagine. Gore stains the
walls of what looks like a grimy, cobwebby basement. “Bodies” — apparent victims of close-quarters combat
— litter the floor, many lying in
pools of “blood.”
But upon a closer look, the mannequins are breathing, their eyes
move and blink, they have a pulse
and they bleed. Boy do they bleed.
The Navy lab, which officially
opened in March but has been training since last October at Field Medical Training Battalion-East, provides Navy corpsmen
with the most realistic training environment possible,
and the high-tech mannequins — don’t ever call them
dummies — play a huge role.
The mannequins, at first glance, look more or less
like what might be used in a high school cardio-pulminary resuscitation class. But under the fleshy
skin, they look more like the well known “Star Wars”
The Combat Casualty Simulation Laboratory offers corpsmen the
chance to work with lifelike mannequins in pressure situations.
■ Wires and tubes lead out of the mannequins to compressors
and pumps, which give them motion, and computers, which control vital signs.
■ Instructors can control a mannequin’s reaction to treatment
received from a student.
■ Students will “treat” massive hemorrhaging, traumatic brain
injuries and anything else that might be seen on the battlefield.
Storm,” said Navy Lt. Carmen F. Rowe, an instructor at
the lab. “We used pig feet.”
The mannequins, which weigh about 150 pounds
apiece, react to treatment, too. If a corpsman says he
wants to administer morphine, the mannequin’s
breathing will slow. They will react to the administration of fluids. The abdomen of a mannequin can be
hardened to simulate internal bleeding.
android C-3PO, full of wiring and tubes. Those wires
and tubes lead out of the mannequins to compressors
and pumps, which give them motion, and computers,
which control vital signs.
Instructors at the lab said they can simulate massive
hemorrhaging from shrapnel or a gunshot wound, they
can simulate traumatic brain injuries and anything else
that might be seen on the battlefield.
“This training is preparing students far more than
when I went through training, back before Desert
In addition to blood, the mannequins can secrete
fluids from the mouth and ears, and even lose control
of their bowels. Their pupils can be dilated, the tongue
can be made to swell and instructors can talk to the
students out of a speaker in the mannequin as if it were
a real patient.
“Before, we’d [only] have people dressed up in
moulage [makeup applied to simulate injuries], and
they’d go through the casualty assessment with students,”
said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kelly Gilbert, an
An instructor applies fake blood and plastic wounds to a re-enactor, who will bring the “reality” of an improvised explosive
device detonation to the Casualty Assessment Class at the Combat Trauma Simulation Laboratory at Camp Johnson, N.C.