Medical training prepares Afghan police for sustainability
January 22, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan (Jan. 22, 2014) -- Afghan Uniformed Police members received training on field medical techniques from Soldiers with Security Force Assistance Team Tombstone at the Spin Boldak District Police Headquarters, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Jan. 19.
SFAT Tombstone, comprised of Soldiers from the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Texas Army National Guard, is partnered with the Spin Boldak Afghan Uniformed Police, or AUP, and works closely with the District Chief of Police, Col. Abdul Quayum, to design training around the needs of the AUP.
The chief of police asked for medical training because he knew it would help his officers, said Sgt. David A. Hixson, the SFAT's senior medic from Arlington, Texas.
The training was unique because the AUP learned improvised and field expedient methods of stopping blood loss and evacuating a casualty, which prepares them for sustainability.
"We taught them more about improvised tourniquets because its something that they sustain after we leave," said Hixson. "When I took a shirt out and cut it right in front of them it showed them that they can make a tourniquet out of anything."
Field medical treatment is a challenge, said Khal Mohammad, a local AUP member.
"Now we have learned new things that will help us," said Mohammad.
The improvised methods were taught in the event of supply limitations and a slow supply process. The SFAT conducts and sponsors training regularly that involves AUP logistical personnel teaching the supply process to field leaders in the area.
"We are also working with them about their supply process," said Hixson. "It's not the fastest process but you can see that their leadership is supporting them."
As the supply process strengthens the SFAT's goal is to develop a train-the-trainer program for field medical treatment. The SFAT looks for and identifies individuals who are learning quickly and have a rapport with the other trainees to enroll in their future program.
"It's much better if they can train themselves," said Hixson. "It keeps their attention."
"Everyone here works as unit," said Mohammad. "When we learn stuff like this we can help each other."
The training ended with a timed contest where the policemen displayed what they learned. It consisted of applying an improvised tourniquet made from torn shirts and a police baton, then transporting the casualty in an improvised litter to a nearby police truck.
"They strive on competition," said Hixson. "They really enjoyed that."
After the good-natured competition the participants shook hands and exchanged hugs before taking a group picture.
The coming months will bring them together often in order strengthen the AUP's ability to operate in the area and to allow the SFAT to answer any training needs.