August 15, 2021: Stories from the Field – In the Words of Frederick Gerber


In the Words of Frederick Gerber

COL (USA, Retired) former Commander, 307th Medical Battalion (Abn), 82d Airborne Division. Senior Military Consultant, Thornhill Medical.

My Story

As a functional Med Bn Cdr in the 82d Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm (ODS), my biggest challenge during the operation was accumulating various trauma acuity patients and providing 24/7 nursing support with an authorized nurse-to-patient ratio of only 1:10 on 12-hr shifts. We were also accepting post-op intensive care patients originating from our co-located organic surgical team which had even fewer critical care nursing staff, adding complexity to an already intense situation.
Shortly after the First Gulf War ended in a March 1991 ceasefire, a local uprising in the Sha’aban Intifada occurred in An-Nasiriyah, Iraq. Amidst a brutal campaign against dissidents using both direct and indirect fire, our HQ&A Medical Company was suddenly hit hard by a large mass casualty incident (MASCAL) of 47 patients. We had 1-nurse/3-LPN staff authorized to provide critical care; other clinical staff was diverted to assist. Following this initial MASCAL, we experienced a steady flow of 36-total casualties over a 96-hour period, stretching our Company clinical staff to its limits. Among 80+ pediatric-to-adult civilian patients, casualties ranged from burns to penetrating and multi-organ injuries – most of which required vital signs monitoring, oxygen, ventilation, and Prolonged Field Care (PFC). To save lives amid these intense staffing and equipment challenges, we implemented Basic Trauma Life Support protocols performing basic resuscitation and stabilization. All along, I knew we could do better in these situations – if only we had fit-for-purpose staffing and equipment solutions.

Bridging to Tomorrow

Driven by my experiences in ODS, I have been seeking practical solutions that address the unique demands of treating, holding, and evacuating casualties in Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)/Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO) and that are suited to current and future Joint Forces, Full Spectrum operations in these environments.

Then I discovered Thornhill Medical and MOVES® SLC™ – the high-tech, next generation equipment, ready today, and for the future, which addresses many of these staffing and equipment challenges.