Alaska medics train Afghan counterpart
February 21, 2012
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- As time winds down to the eventual departure of American troops from Afghanistan, some Afghan soldiers eagerly seek training when given the opportunity.
Afghan Sgt. Ziormal Armoni, a medic with the Afghan National Security Forces, jumped at the chance when two medical paratroopers from the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, part of the Alaska-based 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, offered their battlefield experience and knowledge at Combat Outpost Narizah.
Armoni became a medic nearly a year ago and received basic level first aid training.
Sgt. David Riley, a senior medic for Headquarters Platoon, Delaware Company, TF Blue Geronimo, was a line medic with an infantry platoon during a previous deployment to Afghanistan where he treated U.S. and Afghan casualties. He now looks to share his experience with Armoni.
"We've been training Ziormal for the two months we've been here," Riley, a native of Houghton, Mich., said. "Today we did a recap of some of the things we taught him. Trauma assessments controlled bleeding, treating sucking chest wounds, establishing the airway, treatment for shock and getting [intravenous] fluids going. We train him on a new topic everyday and then once a week we do a recap [of] everything we've done."
Riley said Armoni's prior training was limited.
"When we started with him, his skill set was no more than teaching high-school first aid," Riley said. "He could put a bandage on somebody. Now, I would take him outside the wire with U.S. troops and feel absolutely confident that he could save another Soldier's life."
"I'm glad we're at the point where we are training up [their] forces to be able to take over from a medical aspect," Riley said. "That's an area that I'm passionate about. I don't accept anything but getting it done the right way. I don't want to leave here and leave our counterpart unsure of what he's doing. If I can teach him to be [at the] same level as [an Army medic], then we did our job."
U.S. Army Spc. Victorio Cornejo, a medic with Headquarters Platoon, D Company, TF Blue Geronimo, is on his second tour in Afghanistan and had previous experience as a medic during a humanitarian mission in Haiti. He works with Riley and is directly involved with the training as well.
He said their goal is to train Armoni to be a sufficient medic, so when other Afghan medics arrive, he can start training them.
The more Armoni trained with them, the more his confidence grew, according to Cornejo.
"When he first came here he would keep his head down a lot," Cornejo said. "Now that he's gotten confidence, he's keeping his head up and smiling a lot. You can just tell that his confidence level has boosted dramatically."
Armoni thanked the paratroopers and told them he training was a great help, according to Cornejo.
"I want to serve my people and my country," Armoni said. "I will stay in the military as long as I'm not married and then I'll decide what to do."