Longknife medics train Iraqi Soldiers in life-saving skills
May 8, 2009
BAGHDAD - Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers continue to train with their Iraqi Security Force partners in essential war-fighting skills, but not all training requires the firing of weapons.
Medical Soldiers serving with the 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, taught Iraqi Soldiers with the 6th Iraqi Army Division how to conduct the basic medical skills necessary in saving wounded people's lives.
After four days in an indoor learning environment in northwest Baghdad, the Soldiers left their notebooks and pens in the classroom, moved outside and applied what they learned in a hands-on, simulated combat environment May 6.
"It's important for these Soldiers to get this training because they are not always going to have a medic out with them on patrols," said Sgt. James Scaggs, a native of Beaver, Ohio and one of the trainers from 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. "Each one of these Soldiers can do basic level care to sustain a patient long enough to get them to a hospital."
Iraqi Soldiers learned how to treat bullet-wounds, head injuries, broken bones, burns and other battle injuries.
They also put their fears of needles behind them and learned how to properly insert a saline intravenous or IV in the veins of the wounded in case of blood loss.
During the trauma simulation, a squad of 6th IA Soldiers ran through a wall of smoke and heard the screams of five freshly wounded comrades.
"We made it interesting and as realistic as we could for them and they learned fast," said Sgt. David Burke, a U.S. Army trainer from Flint, Mich.
Burke said that some of the Soldiers have done this training before and some of them had to start from scratch.
"We just imparted what we know to them and they took it in very well," he said. "They have the grasp to use this training not only on Soldiers, but also civilians who may be wounded. Anyone who needs medical help in a combat situation, they are trained and ready to help in any way they can."
When the classroom portion of the training was over, the 6th IA Soldiers couldn't wait to apply what they had learned in a realistic environment.
"What I have noticed is that they love the hands-on training," said Burke. "When they actually get to go in and put their hands on patients and practiced what they learned, that's what they like."
After each group completed a round of training, the Soldiers huddled up to talk about what they did well and what they needed to improve on.
"We gave them first aid and we tried to keep them alive," said a 6th IA Soldier after a training stint. "We might have had a little bit of confusion; we didn't know what to do at first, but after we saw the situation we took a good look and we knew how to deal with it."
Scaggs said the intent of the training is for the 6th IA Soldiers to take what they learned and teach their fellow Soldiers the same basic medical skills. Because these skills are perishable, he said it was important for them to continue practicing.
As the Soldiers continue to hone their life-saving abilities, he added that the practice will also improve their self-assurance.
"This training improves their capabilities because it gives them confidence in their selves to deal with things a lot of people don't deal with," he said. "Just by doing the trauma lane we allowed them to experience somewhat of what a real situation would be like."
The Combat Life Saver training is scheduled to continue with the Soldiers until the 2nd HBCT redeploys this fall.
"As long as we can keep this going, training these guys up, it's a good thing because it is strengthening that bond between ourselves and the IA," said Burke. "We're going to be out here every month; that's our goal and that is what we are going to do until we roll out of here or somebody comes in and replaces us."