FORT RILEY, Kan.--1st Infantry Division combat medics trained on the next generation of combat casualty care simulators at Fort Riley, Kansas, on November 7, gaining a firmer grasp on the reality of performing life-saving procedures under duress.
The Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable (TC3X) is a rugged, realistic full body trainer mannequin used for the treatment of severe trauma. The simulator has been around since 2008, but it continues to evolve with each passing year, receiving new updates and added technological advancements that aid in its effectiveness.
Big Red One medics trained with these simulators to refresh and build upon past trainings while also learning new techniques that can be used in Tactical Combat Casualty Care. Completion of this training earns medics a certification on the operation of and use in training with the TC3X. Afterward, they are encouraged to take the information back to their units and train non-medical personnel using the mannequins.
Johnny Estep, a field service representative with Trauma Effects, the simulator's maker, travels around the United States to teach U.S. Army combat medics how to operate the TC3X mannequins. He said that the ultimate goal of the course is to save more lives on the battlefield.
"With the mannequins of the past, you either trained in the industry or by treating the instructor," said Estep. "What this does, by training the non-medical personnel, is when there's not a medic around, they can still save a life. They can control the bleeding, breathing and circulation long enough for a medic to get there, or to get them to the next level of care."
Soldiers can use a remote to control the different abilities of the TC3X simulator in order to recreate realistic scenarios that both medical and non-medical personnel may experience on the battlefield.
"These ones are really nice because they will respond to you," said Spc. Trevor Helmuth, a combat medic with to DIVARTY, 1st Infantry Division. "They actually squirt out blood, they breathe for you and they talk. It's like working with a real patient. There are old ones where there wasn't anything technology wise, it was just bare bones, 'Rough Randy' kind of mannequins."
With all of the technology built into these simulators, one might think that the mannequins would be fragile. They are not. The field representatives assured the Soldiers that the TC3X is durable and can take a beating.
"Even with all this new technology in it you can drag them, you can evac them; they're very durable," said Estep. "But if you treated it like a live patient, you can jump and put a knee on it, you're not going to break it. They're very durable, and they can last for years.
Combat medics in attendance reported finding high value in this new equipment because of the real-time feedback technology gives the Soldiers.
"It gives you something to reflect on after you've completed your trauma lane," said Helmuth. "It gives you that emotional value to want to better yourself as a Soldier and as a lifesaver."
Following the training, the medics will return to their respective units with the simulators and are slated to pass along their new knowledge to their fellow Soldiers.