"Black Jack" medics geared up and ready to go
May 26, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas-A unit returning from a combat assignment must take time to repair, refurbish and replace combat equipment, in an effort to ensure that it is prepared to deploy again if called upon to do so.
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency's "Reset" program is designed to reverse the effects of combat stress on medical equipment.
Soldiers from C Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division conducted part of their medical reset, here, May 7.
As part of the medical reset, one significant change medics received was a new style of combat lifesaver bag.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Donna Hunter, a Piscataway, N.J., native and the brigade surgeon's non-commissioned officer in-charge, the older bags had unnecessary equipment, so the Army upgraded and combined different sets to ensure the medics had just what was necessary.
The new bags contain two types of blankets that allow for the treatment of shock; strap cutters, making it easier to extract troops stuck in seat belts in a vehicle; and a new leash for medical shears to prevent their loss on the battlefield.
For Sgt. 1st Class Sherry Ebaugh, from Baltimore, Md., a treatment platoon sergeant, the new aid bags are only a small part of a bigger change she has seen during her 18 years in the Army.
"[I've] seen a dramatic improvement in the equipment," said Ebaugh. "It makes my job a lot easier having new equipment."
According to Ebaugh, medical equipment meant for battlefield injury treatment has improved greatly. Soldiers and medics now carry easy-to-use tourniquets that come with self-adhering bands, tightening rods and straps and clips to secure the tourniquet once applied. Bandages have also seen improvement; they now have a piece that allows for self-tightening, making them easier to use as a pressure bandage if necessary.
The equipment is geared toward tactical combat care, explained Ebaugh. With new equipment and training, Soldiers can treat a wider variety of combat related injuries with greater ease, including chest wounds and gaping injuries.
After spending 2009 in Iraq, the Soldiers from this company needed to replace a lot of gear.
"This is equipment we will be able to train on and to use during the next deployment," said Ebaugh.
According to Maj. JoAnne Whisenhunt, from Jasper, Fla., the senior medical logistics planner for 1st Cav. Div., the Army has really emphasized the need for medics to have the latest technology; comparable to what civilian medical personnel would carry.
"We are trying to get better equipment all the way down to the first responders," said Whisenhunt. "This improves healthcare on the battlefield and improves unit readiness."
"We are always replacing and upgrading older equipment," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Wright, of Murphysville, Tenn., the lead USAMMA representative.
Wright said his agency receives feedback from deployed Soldiers, which helps them decide what kind of new items will be fielded. The USAMMA ensures all BCTs deploy with the most current and relevant equipment.
"We always try to issue the latest and greatest equipment out there," he said. "This equipment helps save lives."