Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment “Black Lions,” 3rd Infantry Division, participated in a combat lifesaver course on Camp Fuji, Japan, June 15-16, 2021.
Eight medics taught Soldiers from a variety of military occupational specialties different techniques to care for casualties before the unit takes part in Exercise Orient Shield 21-2, which begins later this month.
The all-day class began with Soldiers watching an instructional video on the basics of tactical combat casualty care to include: care under fire, tactical field care, and tactical evacuation. Soldiers then rotated through stations where they were encouraged to ask questions and learned through demonstration and hands-on participation.
"This class can be the difference between life or death for Soldiers,” said Pfc. Josiah Carlo, a medic from Clovis, California.
Soldiers maintained proper social distancing and mask wear during the class, but said that COVID-19 does not get in the way of treating a patient.
“The care stays the same, depending on the urgency of the situation,” said Carlo. “If someone is hemorrhaging or struggling to breathe, then that is more important.”
During the course, Soldiers trained in eight different stations where they learned the proper use of hasty and deliberate tourniquets, proper use of nasopharyngeal airways, airway management, junctional wound management, respiration management, chest seals, use of emergency trauma bandages, hypothermia prevention and management, tactical combat casualty care, 9-line medical evacuation, and how to care for splints and fractures.
For Pfc. Robert Hunter, an infantryman from Huntington, Tennessee, the most memorable thing he learned during the course was how to administer a nasopharyngeal airway, which requires putting a fairly large tube into a patient’s nostril.
“They're used when someone is having trouble breathing while being -- or potentially going -- unconscious,” said Hunter.
Although Soldiers take a variety of basic medical classes throughout their time in the military, refresher courses like this one help ensure they are ready to handle a range of medical challenges that might arise.
“I feel really confident, especially because I've taken this course before,” said Hunter.
At the end of the course, the Soldiers were put through a combat care assessment where they were given simulated casualties to treat. Soldiers first carried their casualty to safety using one of the many carrying techniques they learned. Medics described injuries for the casualties and the Soldiers then used proper medical techniques to treat them.
Sgt. Randie Palmer, a medic from Harthill, Jamaica, was in charge of running the class and believes the training was a success.
“It was an introduction for Soldiers who had never taken the course and a refresher for those who had taken it in the past,” said Palmer.
Palmer feels that all Soldiers can benefit from basic medical training, and feels that knowing these skills can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
Upon the completion of a 14-day restriction of movement, the Black Lions will begin training with their Japanese counterparts during Exercise Orient Shield. Orient Shield is the largest U.S. Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force bilateral field training exercise being executed in various locations throughout Japan to enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations.