Blacksmiths train-up on combat medical care
August 26, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers of the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division conducted a training exercise, here, Aug. 24, to prepare them for combat medical scenarios they may face while deployed.
The troopers faced a three-segment exercise; a foot patrol with casualties on the battlefield needing assessment and initial care, a casualty collection point to stabilize the casualties where they called for a medical evacuation and an evacuation point where Soldiers learned how to properly load a field litter ambulance.
"I think it's good because it helps us react to things that might go wrong on the battlefield," said 2nd Lt. Michael Garland, a platoon leader.
As they began, the platoon moved into a wedge formation, providing outer security for the group.
Suddenly, a simulated mortar exploded near the platoon and two Soldiers fell to the ground, groaning and calling out in pain. Some members of the team maintained their positions in a 360-degree security element, while others provided medical care to their wounded comrades.
Mortars continued to explode around the platoon as they assessed the situation and moved quickly to the casualty collection point.
Soldiers said they were happy with the fluidity of the first portion of the exercise.
"I had my team pull security and I went back to help with the casualties," said Cpl. Julius Williams, a transportation specialist with the company.
At the second segment of the exercise, the platoon set to work providing more advanced casualty care. Personnel with C Medical Company instructed the platoon on proper care procedures and even provided a mannequin with which to practice needle chest decompressions and nasal-pharyngeal airway emplacement. While some Soldiers provided care, others secured the area while another called for a medical evacuation.
Soldiers new to the unit said they felt the second portion of the scenario was a success.
"Everyone was working quick and constantly moving," said Pvt. Bridgette Holloway, a fuel distribution specialist from San Francisco, Calif. "I feel like we had a lot of good communication and that's important."
In the third and final scenario of the training, the platoon carried the casualties by litter or helped them walk to where a field litter ambulance waited.
A medic with C Med. Co. instructed the Soldiers on the proper procedures of loading and unloading the litters to and from the ambulance. He emphasized that the more critical casualties should be loaded last so they can be unloaded and treated first.
After the exercise, medical personnel conducted an after action review with the platoon.
The group spent 20 minutes discussing each aspect of the exercise, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses and providing solutions to the challenges they faced. Each member of the platoon engaged the review, asking questions for more understanding.
"When you're out there you've got to have somebody in charge but everybody has to know what each other's jobs are," said Staff Sgt. Laplaya Hickman, a platoon sergeant.
Hickman said training like this prepares Soldiers for real-life combat scenarios.
"In Iraq, we'll never know what the scenario is, so this training helps us be prepared for anything."