Medics teach life-saving techniques
Sgt. Troy Galvan, a medic and San Antonio, Texas native, shows an Afghan National Army soldier how to care for a trauma patient's breathing during a 30-day course on emergency first aid. By the end of the training, the ANA soldiers have more advanced... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Jan. 5, 2009) -- Working with the Afghan National Army soldiers 16 hours a week, the medics with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, are providing instruction on a multitude of crucial life-saving techniques.

Spanning through first aid and beyond, the training seems difficult, but the Afghans' enthusiasm helps the medics guide their students through its challenges.

"We taught them tactical combat casualty car -- what you might refer to as the medic's bible," said Sgt. Troy Galvan, a medic with the 201st Brigade Support Battalion. "We try to use that as a foundation for these guys, because if they can do all the stuff in TC3 then they should be able to sustain life."

The instruction parallels the Combat Lifesaver course every U.S. Soldier is required complete, but the training medics are providing moves beyond the limits of CLS, covering skill sets commonly found among Emergency Medical Technicians in the U.S.

"The training is exactly the same thing U.S. Soldiers receive, but as medics we can go into the EMT aspect of certain things. It consists of a lot of stuff ... anything you can think of that can happen out there, we're teaching them," Galvan said. "We can do a lot more intravenous solution therapy or traction splints -- things you would never do in CLS."

By the end of the course, the ANA soldiers will have learned an invaluable skill: saving a life. After the long days of training and strenuous lessons, Galvan says he has the utmost faith in the ability of his students to perform.

"I think we're contributing a lot to the future of Afghanistan," Galvan said. "If I can do a little part in training these guys, I'll do that, and I'll keep doing it until we leave here."

(Pfc. Charles Wolfe writes for 3rd BCT, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs)