Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - The Red Lion Battalion is going above and beyond, to set new standards in the 17th Field Artillery Brigade by implementing Tactical Combat Casualty Care into their overall training.
308th Brigade Support Battalion embraces a new strategy of integrated medical training known as TC3.
"We used the week to focus on tactical combat medical training," said Cpt. Jesmarie Vives-Vega, 308th BSB operations officer. "It progressively started with a Combat Lifesaving course taught by our medics and proceeded into Tactical Combat Casualty Care, which was introduction to the battalion by the Madigan Medical Simulation Training Center."
TC3 became a standard in the special operations units when these units realized that the medical instructions they were learning didn't come second nature because it was practice separate from primary training.
"TC3 is an important evolution in Battlefield Medicine that ensures every Soldier has the knowledge and ability to help prevent the loss of lives," said Sgt. 1st Class Morgen Bickler, the Non-commissioned officer-in-charge at the MSTC. "Special Operations Units have been incorporating it at every level for years and now it is starting to be implemented into conventional force. The key will be to integrate Point of Injury medicine into unit missions essential tasks and battle drill training instead of keeping them separated."
The beginning of the week started out with about 30 Red Lion soldiers going through a CLS course. This will give the soldiers a basic understanding of front-line or first-line response medical care.
"CLS is a roll of TC3," said Sgt. Bryan Barger, a medical non-commissioned officer with 17th FA Bde. Medical team. "So, I was teaching them the basics … the skills to provide immediate lifesaving intervention and evaluating them to ensure that they understood and could perform those skills. This is the first phase of their training."
After the basic knowledge was provided to the soldiers, it was time to see how much they retained with realistic training.
"We took our soldiers out to one of the training areas and put them into scenarios that they might actually see if we were deployed," said Vives.
The second phase of the training consisted of the soldiers working in small teams and moving through seven different scenarios. The different members of the team had to explain to an evaluator how to conduct each skill, while preforming the skill on a mannequin. While one team member was being evaluated the others held 360 degree security.
"I think this was different for most people," said Spc. Jonathan Carter, a maintenance soldier from Headquarters Support Company, 308th BSB, 17th FA Bde. "It was the actual application of those skill for a real life event like a gunshot wound or an Improvised Explosive Device blast. In the classroom, we preformed these things on each other and in doing that you are not going to tighten a tourniquet to cut of the circulation for safety reasons more than anything else. Whereas when you're working with the mannequins and they have that fake blood running through them, you can see there is still blood leaking and this tourniquet needs to be tighter."
The final piece of the training was to evaluate the soldier while they executed their new skills under duress. They were placed into situation that they would actually encounter as a support battalion executing sustainment missions.
"This type of realistic scenario training does two things," explained Barger. "First, it will put the soldiers under simulated battle stress and makes them have to quickly recall the knowledge that they learned earlier in the week. Second, it helps give them a sense of where they fit in into the bigger picture. And when people know where they fit in, they can understand the importance of their situation."
The soldiers faced multiple challenges and distractions that tried to pull their attention from the task at hand, but in the end, the soldiers learned valuable lifesaving skills that could help them in not only deployments but in everyday training.
"Just because there is a casualty doesn't mean that the mission stops," said Vives. "They have to learn to keep moving forward, to finish the mission and at the same time help that casualty. As sustainers we are a high priority target for the enemy and if they can get us to stop in our tracks, then they have done their damage. We can't allow that to happen. This is why it is important to integrate TC3 into our tactics, techniques and procedures."