FORT POLK, La. — Medics across the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk were given the opportunity to work closely with the medical evacuation helicopters of 1st Battalion, 5th Aviation Regiment’s Cajun Dustoff during training July 24 adjacent to Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital.
Staff Sgt. Cameron Reeves, hospital education and staff development NCOIC, arranged the training for medics assigned not only to BJACH, but also units across the installation footprint.
“We try to conduct training with Cajun Dustoff at least once a quarter, shooting for the time when there is no rotation in the box,” Reeves said. “They (Cajun Dustoff pilots and crew) are always willing to help us and provide top-notch training.”
Reeves said the training consisted of anything a medic might face in a field environment when treating ill or injured patients, and how to call in medical evacuation in the event it is required.
“A lot of medics have not had the opportunity to work around helicopters in motion,” Reeves said. “This training gives them the confidence to work safely around a helicopter, learn its capabilities, and how to load patients on the aircraft.”
Reeves said Cajun Dustoff personnel also gave the 44 medics who attended the training instruction on hoist operations in the event a helicopter is unable to land and must lift a patient from the ground.
“That kind of training can be a lifesaver if someone is severely injured,” he said.
Another aspect of the training dealt with the 9-Line MedEvac Request. The report, as stated in its title, is nine lines long to maintain simplicity and informs the incoming pilot and crew of the following: Site location; call sign and frequency; number of patients by severity of injuries; special equipment needed; number of litter or ambulatory patients; security at pick-up site; method of marking the landing zone; patient nationality and status; and any possible chemical contamination.
Reeves said the training on July 24 included medics with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, 46th Engineer Battalion, OC/Ts from JRTC Operations Group, an Irish liaison officer, BJACH and 519th Military Police Battalion.
“There are about 350 medics stationed at the JRTC and Fort Polk,” he said. “We’ve made our office available for training and actively seek units and let them know what training we are conducting.”
That training includes tactical combat casualty care for both humans and K-9s, Medic Table 8 that deals with medic recertification, CPR, advance life support and dental emergency.
“We do training every week,” Reeves said. “The majority of our training is conducted in the new BJACH/JRTC Medical Training Range on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Command Sgt. Maj. Alexander Poutou, BJACH command sergeant major, said current training is important for the installation’s medics.
“You train as you fight, so it’s important to have hands-on training with this equipment, particularly with the UH-60 medevac Soldiers,” he said. “They need the confidence to know that when they find themselves down range, they know they’re going to be taken care of.”
Poutou said medic training is about conserving the fighting strength in the Army medical department.
“It’s important to know our equipment and its capabilities, and what we have in our inventory when we go to combat,” he said. “We must know what will help us achieve success on the battlefield. If Soldiers get wounded, this is their mode of transport.”
Poutou said he’s seen first-hand what the capabilities of medevac helicopters are down range. “I respect what they do on a daily basis,” he said.
Reeves said that not only does his office conduct routine training, but they can also design training to meet a unit’s specific needs.
“All a unit needs to do is give us a call and we’ll work up a course of training that specifically fits their need,” he said.