• Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Zarza, a Soldier assigned to the Defense Medical
Readiness Training Institute on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, prepares to lead a
team of Paraguayan special forces soldiers toward a landing Paraguayan air
force UH-1 Huey helicopter during a simulated MEDEVAC exercise that was part
of a tactical combat lifesaver course led by U.S. Army South in Asuncion,
Paraguay, June 20.

    Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Zarza, a Soldier assigned...

    Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Zarza, a Soldier assigned to the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, prepares to lead a team of Paraguayan special forces soldiers toward a landing Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey helicopter...

  • A Paraguayan special operations soldier provides security while his team
rushes simulated casualties toward a Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey
helicopter during a simulated MEDEVAC exercise that was part of a tactical
combat lifesaver course led by U.S. Army South in Asuncion, Paraguay, June
20.

    A Paraguayan special operations soldier...

    A Paraguayan special operations soldier provides security while his team rushes simulated casualties toward a Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey helicopter during a simulated MEDEVAC exercise that was part of a tactical combat lifesaver course led by U.S...

  • Paraguayan special operations cadets rush simulated casualties from a
Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey helicopter during a simulated MEDEVAC
exercise that was part of a tactical combat lifesaver course led by U.S.
Army South in Asuncion, Paraguay, June 20.

    Paraguayan special operations cadets rush...

    Paraguayan special operations cadets rush simulated casualties from a Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey helicopter during a simulated MEDEVAC exercise that was part of a tactical combat lifesaver course led by U.S. Army South in Asuncion, Paraguay, June...

  • A Paraguayan special operations medic prepares to insert an IV catheter into
simulated casualty while onboard a Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey helicopter
during a tactical combat lifesaver course led by U.S. Army South in
Asuncion, Paraguay, June 20.

    A Paraguayan special operations medic prepares...

    A Paraguayan special operations medic prepares to insert an IV catheter into simulated casualty while onboard a Paraguayan air force UH-1 Huey helicopter during a tactical combat lifesaver course led by U.S. Army South in Asuncion, Paraguay, June 20.

  • 1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical Command, 5501st U.S. Army Hospital, supervises Paraguayan special operations forces cadets as they give medical attention to a simulated casualty during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 20 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a team of U.S. medical professionals as they traveled to Asuncion June 16 -- 27 to conduct the course with more than 80 Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers.

    1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical...

    1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical Command, 5501st U.S. Army Hospital, supervises Paraguayan special operations forces cadets as they give medical attention to a simulated casualty during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 20 in Asuncion...

  • A Paraguayan security forces soldier asks Sgt. 1st Class Efrain Perez, U.S. Army South, a question on the proper use of a tourniquet during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a team of U.S. medical professionals as they traveled to Asuncion June 16 -- 27 to conduct the course with more than 80 Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers.

    A Paraguayan security forces soldier asks Sgt...

    A Paraguayan security forces soldier asks Sgt. 1st Class Efrain Perez, U.S. Army South, a question on the proper use of a tourniquet during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a team of U.S. medical...

  • 1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical Command, 5501st U.S. Army Hospital, shows Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers and cadets the proper way to insert an IV during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a team of U.S. medical professionals as they traveled to Asuncion June 16 -- 27 to conduct the course with more than 80 Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers.

    1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical...

    1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical Command, 5501st U.S. Army Hospital, shows Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers and cadets the proper way to insert an IV during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S...

  • 1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical Command, 5501st U.S. Army Hospital, shows a Paraguayan special operations forces cadet the proper way to insert an IV during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a team of U.S. medical professionals as they traveled to Asuncion June 16 -- 27 to conduct the course with more than 80 Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers.

    1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical...

    1st Lt. Norberto S. Montavi, Army Medical Command, 5501st U.S. Army Hospital, shows a Paraguayan special operations forces cadet the proper way to insert an IV during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led...

  • A Paraguayan soldier attempts to insert an IV into another soldier as Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Zarza, Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, supervises during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a team of U.S. medical professionals as they traveled to Asuncion June 16 -- 27 to conduct the course with more than 80 Paraguayan special operations forces soldiers.

    A Paraguayan soldier attempts to insert an IV...

    A Paraguayan soldier attempts to insert an IV into another soldier as Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Zarza, Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, supervises during a tactical combat lifesaver course June 18 in Asuncion, Paraguay. U.S. Army South led a...

The eerie whistle of a mortar round pierces the calm as the unmistakable cracks of incoming rounds augment the disarray that surrounds you.

To the seasoned combat veteran, the experience of a fight and years of training to acclimate to the sights and sounds of battle can allow that Soldier to operate at peak performance.

However, one sound alone has the ability to rattle nerves and send fear into even the most seasoned Soldier.

"Medic!"

Amid the chaos, a voice sends the alarm that a comrade is down. Instantly, with no regard for his own safety, the medic moves through harm's way to get to his fallen brother.

Now is the time to put his years of training and experience to use. It is time to save a life.

It was with this scenario in mind that U.S. Army South recently conducted a tactical combat lifesaver course subject matter expert exchange with Paraguayan military forces June 16-27. The course was broken into two separate two-week classes focusing on tactical combat casualty care guidance and casualty evacuations under fire.

Paraguay sent more than 80 special forces soldiers and members of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat, Paraguay's anti-narcotics department of the national police, to take advantage of the knowledge U.S. medics acquired during their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They're doing plenty of real-world missions right now and this training will greatly assist the Paraguayan forces in saving lives and maintaining a combat-ready force," said Sgt. 1st Class Efrain Perez, operations and plans noncommissioned officer for U.S. Army South's assistant chief of staff for medicine.

The Paraguayan military and security forces maneuver routinely in operations against guerilla organizations such as the Paraguayan People's Army, an insurgency group operating in remote areas of the country, or against narcotics cartels.

In a struggle against deadly opposition, the Paraguayans hope the combat medical care knowledge gained in the exchange can literally be the difference between life and death.

Each 2-week class started with classroom instruction detailing critical skills such as checking a casualty for wounds, treating for shock, applying tourniquets and how to administer IVs. Later, the students were tasked with taking the knowledge learned and applying it in a simulated firefight.

"The Soldiers who are training in this exchange are teammates," said 1st Lt. Pablo Solis, Joint Battalion of Special Forces for Paraguay. "Within a team, trust is essential. This information they have learned during these classes will allow our Soldiers to operate with the utmost trust in each other's ability to perform expedient medical care in the event we sustain casualties during operations."

Moving in small, five-man teams, each group was asked to engage the enemy, move to a simulated casualty, assess the fallen soldier, and treat and evacuate him under fire.

To add to the reality of the training, the Paraguayan air force agreed to support the exchange by providing aerial MEDEVACs via a UH-1 Huey helicopter. The medics that boarded the aircraft with the simulated casualty were tasked with securing the wounded soldier, then administering an IV catheter while the helicopter was in flight.

In these scenarios, seconds mean lives. As the teams maneuvered through their tests, confidence grew and the actions performed became less about trying to solve a new puzzle, and more about muscle memory.

Army South conducts several medical SMEEs throughout the year with numerous partner nation forces within the command's area of responsibility. These exchanges allow each army to gain a deep appreciation for one another and build cohesive practices that allow for a smooth transition should the need arise for a multinational coalition force to deploy.

"It's important to conduct exchanges like this to maintain our relationship with Paraguay and at the same time pass along information that can make a significant impact for both of our countries," said Perez.

"New global challenges require combined efforts from different forces from different countries," said Solis. "This exchange provides us an opportunity to learn from each other so that we can work well together in the future."

Page last updated Mon June 30th, 2014 at 00:00