By Sgt. Paige BehringerApril 29, 2016
LUDZA, LATVIA -- Not far from Latvia's border with Russia, members of four Special Operations agencies added a new twist to Operation Atlantic Resolve's quest for interoperability.
From April 11 through 15, the four agencies representing two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies spent their week learning from one another while building friendships during a Tactical Combat Casualty Care Train the Trainer course at the Latvian Border Guard Aviation Unit in Ludza, Latvia.
Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group represented the U.S. alongside Latvian allies from OMEGA, the Ministry of Interior's Special Operations Unit; SIGMA Detachment, the Latvian Border Guard Aviation Unit's Special Operations Unit; and the Ministry of Defence's Latvian Special Operations Unit.
"The Latvian SOU is sharing their expertise from going to NATO schools and interacting with U.S. Special Operations Soldiers since OAR began, and using those skills to enhance crisis response or crisis preparedness across their defense apparatus," said a captain of 1st Battalion, 10th SFG representative in Latvia.
Building from a TCCC mass casualty training exercise 1st Battalion, 10th SFG Soldiers and SIGMA last year, the four elements enhanced their training capabilities this week by qualifying members to train their own staff.
"We did get feedback from the previous year's course that these skills were applied when the Latvian Border Guard Aviation Unit SIGMA detachment deployed … to Greece where they ended up interacting with the Greek police and border guards that were dealing with the refugee crisis last summer," the Captain added. "They said that some of the ships that were coming ashore, people were having health conditions and (SIGMA) applied the TCCC training that they received last summer to that problem set with significant result."
Since the previous year's training was so well received, members of this year's training were eager to take the knowledge a step further, the Captain added.
By mid-week, members of the course put together their own TCCC classes and presented them to the group.
"All the participants have been fantastic about working hard to maintain the TCCC knowledge," said a 1st Battalion, 10th SFG medic. "They have the desire and the drive to learn and train their entire unit."
The TCCC class follows the MARCH acronym for evaluating a casualty, which delineates steps to handle massive bleeding, evaluate a casualty's airway, respiration, circulation and treat hypothermia and head injury.
Toward the end of the course, members from each agency put their teaching skills to the test by conducting an actual TCCC class for additional SIGMA students with limited medical knowledge.
"Medically, seeing how TCCC and MARCH is conducted in other nations and seeing that the MARCH algorithm has grown into an international way of doing medicine has been incredible," the medic added.
In celebration of the new friendships and knowledge shared, the Latvian Border Guard Aviation Unit distributed small gifts of appreciation as certificates were handed out to newly qualified trainers from each agency.
"It's remarkable to see the different units being able to freely work together," the medic concluded. "I think for Latvia's defense it speaks very highly of the potential for working together and maintaining a safe Latvia."