Dark Horse medics deliver patients via air
July 28, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - As not to be outdone by their combat brethren of Troop B, who struck first with an air assault mission last month, Dark Horse medics of 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division called on their newest assets during their annual emergency medical technician recertification.
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 4-9 Cav. Medical Platoon decided to call in for an air MEDEVAC, using UH-60 Black Hawk Medical Evacuation Helicopters from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cav. Div., at the Expert Field Medical Badge training site July 24.
"That's awesome that we have choppers to pick up our patients," said Pfc. Michael Guerrero, an HHT medic from Brownsville, Texas.
The scenario-based MEDEVAC started with a group of Soldiers headed for a combined medical engagement. During the course of their convoy, a roadside improvised explosive device detonated near one of their trucks, causing four casualties. From there, it just seemed to get worse. As the convoy stopped after the initial blast, they started taking small-arms fire from almost all directions. The other trucks in the convoy rallied around the downed vehicle, shielding it and the casualties from incoming fire.
Medics quickly removed the casualties and started to treat them on the spot while others worked on recovering the bombed truck. They made the call for a MEDEVAC, but were denied initially due to the hostile gun fire surrounding them. So they loaded the casualties onto their vehicles and took them back to their aid station where they could treat them more safely before putting them onto the Black Hawks.
"It felt real because the moulage (wound simulation kit) was great," said Pfc. Antonio Champion, of Troop B, 4-9 Cav. "On one patient, we had to put a tourniquet on to stop the bleeding."
For young Army medics like Champion, who hails from Denmark, S.C., this type of training was "unconventional" to say the least. But it was in large part, due to one of its primary instructors. Sgt. Christopher Druin, a squad leader, whose vast knowledge and experience in "unconventional medicine" made the training successful.
Prior to the air evacuation, a new group of medics received chances to not only employ some of what their learned during their Advanced Individual Training, but also to look into different options not always found training manuals.
"He showed them unorthodox techniques; but very advanced ones not always in books," said 2nd Lt. Ino Ruiz, 4-9 Cav.'s Medical Platoon leader. "The guys were very excited about the new techniques."
As an added bonus, the medics also received training from Staff Sgt. Christopher Orange, a flight medic assigned to C, 2-227. In between loading up casualties onto the Black Hawk, Orange showed the medics some techniques to shorten casualty loading time, while keeping them safe.
"Time is everything," Orange told them.
For most of the medics, once they practiced loading patients onto the Black Hawks, they said it wasn't too difficult, and that's exactly what Druin said he wanted them to receive through their experience.
"This is not really tough, but it does take practice. If you are a guy who's never done it, you'll make little mistakes, and those little mistakes could cost you your patient's life. Some of these guys are straight out of AIT. We'll have JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Center), and then our deployment," said the Clarksville, Ind. native. "They may be in the think of things next time. We might not have cush 'Green Zone' duty next time. So, we are trying to get them ready now."