Killeen, Texas -- Soldiers assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs brigade, volunteered their skills and faces to Health Science students at the KISD Career Center April 9-10 as they assisted Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant students to prepare for upcoming practical exams.
"The Soldiers come in every month or so to instruct on different subjects and provide different viewpoints," said Becky Hammontree, the career center EMT instructor. "Today they are bringing the instruction all together."
Knowing how to utilize special equipment is an important aspect of EMT life. The Soldier medics provided guidance and real-world knowledge as the students practiced removing simulated car crash victims using the Kendricks Extrication Device; a device meant to stabilize the neck and back of patients to prevent further injury.
As the students worked to communicate with one another while bracing and moving patients, they soon realized the challenges of operating in the small confines of cars. Specialist Courtney Rutan, a medic with 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, took notice as she guided the students through the process of extrication using the KED.
"The military is practiced at removing patients from vehicles because of all the equipment that we wear," she said. "The students are realizing that it is difficult to remove large patients from small vehicles."
Finagling the patients onto the long board for extrication, the students eventually understood the process after a few repetitions of the car crash scenario accompanied with a little guidance from Rutan and the other medics on hand.
In addition to EMT training and certification, the career center offers students the opportunity to enter the nursing profession as well. In a classroom facing the same parking lot that had the simulated car crash, a rambunctious bunch of students adorned in blue scrubs was all abuzz.
At first glance, the classroom looks like any other; a few biology posters, a CPR mannequin and tables prepped with disposable razors, hot water and warm, moist towels. While the razors and hot towels may seem out of place, on this day the CNA students are practicing their shaving techniques on actual participants.
"As long as it helps them learn and grow, I am happy to volunteer," said Spc. William McKinstry, a communications specialist assigned to the 81st CA Battalion, through the warm towel that was placed on his face.

The classroom soon filled with chatter as the students, some more apprehensive than others, asked questions of the Soldier volunteers as the shaving commenced. Dynisha Woods, the class instructor and certified nurse, stressed the importance of listening to the patient while performing the procedure.
"Remember to listen to what the patient is saying. It's their face, so it is very important that you pay attention to what they are telling you," Woods said to the students.
As with the EMT certification exam, the CNA students also are required to complete a comprehensive practical exam consisting of any task covered in the course curriculum; anything from changing sheets while the patient is in the bed to shaving. Having live volunteers allows the students a more realistic training environment than mannequins.
"The Soldiers bring the real life piece that I cannot provide with a mannequin," said Woods. "If it was not for this experience, I may not have the ability to provide such a great learning experience for the students."
Since the unit activations in 2011, the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and 81st CA Bn have interacted with the KISD Career Center through the Army Adopt a School program. According to the Fort Hood website, the Adopt a School program was developed in order to nurture the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth of children in the greater Fort Hood area, as well as to increase public awareness of the Army's mission, and to foster good relations.