By Spc. Derrik TribbeyFebruary 22, 2017
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Hope for the best. Train for the worst.
This is the 1st Infantry Division medical team's approach as they support the multi-national Coalition with Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command -- Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.
The four-person team knows that anything can happen during a deployment, and they want to make sure service members are aware of that possibility, too. In addition to their day-to-day activities, the team works to coordinate training so that everyone will be ready to save a life.
The combat medic team is primarily responsible for providing emergency medical treatment on the battlefield, limited primary care, health protection and evacuation. At Forward Operating Base Union III, the team is dedicated to training and educating the Coalition.
"It is dangerous here," Sgt. Vladislav Dobin, medical team leader, CJFLCC-OIR, from Lake Zurich, Illinois, said. "In the event that something happens like mass casualties, we need as many people as possible to apply tourniquets, chest seals and stuff like that."
Dobin said his team understands the impact of what can happen when personnel are not familiar with life-saving measures, and that's why they consider it vital to build confidence through training.
The medical team offers Combat Lifesaver Course and first responder courses to all Coalition partners.
"We have done a few aid and assist, and we have evaluated some medical sites to see how they're run," Capt. Tiffany Bujak, battalion surgeon, CJFLCC-OIR, said.
Dobin said the medical team offers CLS classes once a month which allows them to focus on the MARCH assessment where they cover massive bleeding, airway, respiration, circulation and hypothermia.
"Getting a good, head to toe, rapid trauma assessment is key," Dobin said. "Knowing MARCH is important to treat most preventable things on the battlefield. Really that is the backbone for Army medics, medicine and CLS."
Spc. Nicholas Ball, medical team member, CJFLCC-OIR, from Columbia, Missouri, said the skills they offer the Coalition are basic but very important.
"We do our best to tweak it a little bit for whomever we are training," Ball said. "For example, if we work with the personal security detachment, we spend a lot of time in vehicles, working on things like extrication."
Also, in order to train the base for a worse-case scenario, the medical team conducts additional mass casualty training throughout the month.
"Training is extremely important," Bujak said. "When we do our battle drills, it's important for our CLS to make sure they're involved in that training and staying current. We want to make sure we are doing everything right to make sure we are saving everyone's lives."
Bujak, who is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said prior to their deployment, she and her team trained for many situations they could encounter while deployed to Iraq.
"I did the tactical combat care course," Bujak said. "It basically teaches us mass casualty situations, how to run a battalion aid station and how to do certain procedures that we don't typically see in primary care or in a garrison setting like emergency cricothyrotomy (opening of the airway by incision) or chest tubes."
During their pre-deployment preparations, the team trained in San Antonio, Texas.
"Being out in the heat, being in full kit, being graded and yelled at in simulated combat situations helps build muscle-memory habits," Ball said. "It's always good to be refreshed and on top of your game."
The medical team is committed to informing all Coalition members about medical readiness. They encourage anyone who has questions or requests for training to stop by the aid station at any time.