Story by 2nd Lt. James Rainey, Field Artillery Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment
U.S. Army Troopers from the Field Artillery Squadron "Steel," 3rd Cavalry Regiment "Brave Rifles," out of Fort Hood, Texas, conducted first responder training for 60 Iraqi Security Force members of the Federal Police, Sept. 3-5, 2018.
The Steel troopers from the Brave Rifles regiment are deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, working by, with and through the ISF and coalition partners from 74 nations to defeat ISIS in areas of Iraq and Syria, and to set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability.
"Building professional relationships with Iraqi forces is one of the primary objectives for Steel troopers. I believe we can achieve this by teaching Iraqi soldiers lessons on our profession specialties," said Staff Sgt. Jermaine Brown, medical platoon sergeant.
For the medical platoon, also known as the Steel Vampires, teaching a combat life saver course to the FEDPOL members would benefit their students in treating life-threatening injuries on the battlefield.
'Steel First Responder' was a customized medical training session that focused on tactical combat casualty care core fundamentals. The intent was ensuring that the FEDPOL personnel received a clear understanding of two main TCCC subjects: care under fire and tactical field care.
"As the nature of coalition operations has transitioned to more of a support role, ISF find themselves on the front lines directly engaging the enemy," said Capt. Chris Mauldin, headquarters and headquarters battery commander for Steel Sqdn. "Therefore, a basic understanding of tactical combat casualty care is paramount to taking the proper life saving measures within the first hour to ensure a minimal 'died of wounds' rate."
"The medical training provided by Task Force Steel will prove crucial to mission success in future FEDPOL operations by enabling them the ability to provide both self and buddy aid," said Mauldin.
The ISF training coordination officer met with Lt. Col. Alexander Lee, Steel Sqdn. commanding officer, to discuss the training. After going over the material that would be covered in the course, dates were set monthly to ensure the majority of FEDPOL would receive medical training.
"This was a great opportunity for all FEDPOL Soldiers to learn how to extend the life of their teammates. We were excited to conduct the first responder training with them, and look forward to providing more training in the future," said Lee.
Steel's attached Iraqi linguists made the training possible with their interpretation support. The linguists took a Steel First Responder course prior to the training so they were familiar with the material.
They helped translate the wording on each of the lessons provided from English to Arabic, taking turns projecting the words from the medic instructor to the FEDPOL students.
Two iterations were conducted, each lasting three days, and a total of 60 FEDPOL members attended and completed the course.
On the final day of class, FEDPOL members were put to the test, executing the steps of care under fire and the sequence of MARCH-E: massive hemorrhage, airways, respirations, circulation, hypothermia/head injuries, and everything else. Upon completion of the course, students of Steel First Responder were given a certificate of achievement.
There were many lessons learned about the current technique and equipment usage they currently operate with. Prior to the course, many FEDPOL personnel believed that their intravenous bands could take the place of a tourniquet. They now know the proper usage of tourniquets that could save a life in the future for battlefield injuries.
One of the FEDPOL members in attendance said, "I lost one of my closest comrades in the battlefield from bleeding out. Now with everything you taught me, I am confident that this will not happen to another one of us again. Thank you."
"The students showed great interest in what we were teaching. They were filled with questions, which is great," said Pfc. Joshua Bielak, instructor and medic with Steel Sqdn.
"I love to teach what I know, and for it to be a group that wants to soak up every word, is awesome," said Bielak. "I hope to do it more often."
There are four more planned iterations of the class that will give all 11 of the Steel Sqdn. medics the opportunity to instruct the course.
Certifying over sixty personnel in just six days raised the confidence of the medics in their ability to teach combat life saving techniques.
"Not many soldiers get to interact with Iraqis, any opportunity they get is definitely worth taking," said Staff Sgt. Jermaine Brown, Steel Sqdn. medical platoon sergeant. "These are definitely ways to bring great stories home from deployment."
The course also helped build peer-to-peer interaction within the squadron staff as they worked to ensure that all arrangements were taken care of in preparing for and conducting the classes.
"This was a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the ISF and increase their military capacity by teaching them something all militaries consider an important necessity: the ability to save soldiers' lives in a combat situation," said Maj. Simon Welte, Steel Sqdn. executive officer.
The medical platoon of Steel Sqdn. was the first unit in the Brave Rifles Regiment to conduct official medical classes and certifications with the ISF during Operation Inherent Resolve.
"We want to ensure that our partners, in whatever country we deploy to, know that we are there to help and will do whatever it takes to keep that relationship strong," said Lee.