1-402nd AFSB civilians in Iraq become combat lifesavers
February 29, 2008
LSA ANACONDA, Iraq, Jan. 19, 2008 - If you look at the current population of American personnel in Iraq, you would see there is nearly a one-to-one ratio between military and civilian, according to Sgt. 1st Class Eric Woodrum, Task Force 62nd Multifunctional Medical Battalion Jameson Combat Medical Training Center noncommissioned officer in charge.
Because of this, many civilians are receiving more military training to be able to properly react during emergencies.
The 1st Battalion, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade, which employs over 700 civilian contractors, had 30 of their personnel go through the combat lifesaver course to ensure readiness in case of emergency.
"With a battalion that has 700 civilians and only 12 Soldiers, when an emergency happens, because it will, we will need first responders to keep the casualties alive until the ambulance arrives," said Sgt. Maj. Eric Hill, 1-402nd AFSB command sergeant major.
The 1-402nd AFSB coordinated with the 62nd MMB, who teaches the CLS course, to have their course coincide with the different needs of the civilian students.
"The 62nd personnel did a great job fielding our requests and working with us on our time schedule," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Tarr, 1-402nd AFSB operations noncommissioned officer. "They really bent over backwards for us."
A few of the changes to the course included extending it to five days instead of the usual three to accommodate the civilians' work schedule. They also changed what information went into a nine-line medical evacuation request.
"Because of where these people work, there would be no possible way to get a medevac helicopter in the compound, so we taught them to call an ambulance," said Woodrum.
During the course the students learned advanced first aid and how to administer an I.V. to a casualty. The culminating event was a mass casualty scenario where the students had to use what they learned to save casualties who had simulated severe bleeding, missing limbs and other life-threatening injuries.
"The event is to give the students hands-on experience during a very stressful situation," said Hill. "Obviously, there is nothing like dealing with a real mass casualty event, but it takes it up a notch from the classroom environment."
In a battalion that consists of 95 percent civilians, some military resources and training can be very helpful preparing their people for anything thrown their way, and the 1-402nd AFSB are taking full advantage of their opportunities.
"This is only the beginning with offering courses to civilians," said Woodrum. "With the ratio between military and civilian, it only makes sense to give the civilian side every opportunity we offer the military."