512th personal security detachment trains with MEDEVAC
March 30, 2011
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The personnel security detachment with the 512th Quartermaster Company, 352nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), out of Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., teamed up with the medical evacuation section on Joint Base Balad, Iraq, to train on the latest MEDEVAC procedures.
The Soldiers practiced loading casualties on and off the helicopters, and they spoke with the pilots and medics on the best ways to prepare for real-world MEDEVAC scenarios.
Even though the platoon is finishing up their deployment, they still feel it's vitally important to stay fresh on MEDEVAC training, because this training could really make a difference, especially with critical patients.
"The more you train, the better off you'll be if you have to react quickly to save someone's life," said Sgt. Greg Jerkins, a truck commander for the 512th Qm. Co.'s PSD, and a Cheyenne, Wy., native.
Prior to the training event, the platoon worked on their internal battle drills for handling casualties, and refreshed their capabilities using the battle drill scenarios that could save another Soldier's life.
The group then headed over to work with the MEDEVAC personnel who cover much of the area that the 512th Qm. Co. operates within.
The platoon worked on placing casualties into the helicopter without the rotors running in order to master the difficulties of maneuvering a litter into a narrow doorway.
Afterwards, the crew turned the helicopters rotors on, and they had the chance to see how much more difficult it is to place a casualty in the helicopter with the new distractors.
The added danger of the blades spinning a few feet above their heads and the inability to effectively communicate with the noise from the engine made the task increasingly more difficult, said Spc. Dustin Allen, a gunner with the PSD team and a Mount Carmel, Ill., native.
"With the blades spinning and the engine running, you got a sense of what it would be like if we had to do this for real," he said.
Specialist Michael Williams, a driver and gunner for the 512th QM Co., and a West Memphis, Ark., native, added that he now knows what to do to make it easier for the MEDEVAC Soldiers to extract personnel to get them medical help.
"It prepared us so the medics can do their job quickly and efficiently, and not have to wait for us to be ready," said Spc. Williams. "The training showed us all the dangers being around a running helicopter and how we can avoid further injury."
The training is something that every unit should participate in; it is a vital tool for anyone heading outside of the wire, added Allen.
Sergeant Jerkins said that working with the latest MEDEVAC helicopter that the Army uses showed all the Soldiers the full capabilities that the Army has.
"Working with the new aircraft also made us rethink our own SOP on handling casualties," he said.
The team learned a lot from the training event and will continue to implement changes to improve their processes based on the suggestions of the MEDEVAC team, making them more efficient and better able to assist their casualties.
Those small changes could mean the difference between life and death.