By Sgt. Alun Thomas, 1st ACB PAO, 1st Cav. Div.October 6, 2009
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - In the midst of battle, with wounded and injured Soldiers in need of crucial medical help, aviation medevac teams will always be there to save lives.
For the air medevac team of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, passing down knowledge of lifesaving steps to Soldiers who need it most is equally as important to those on the frontlines.
Medics in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 1st ACB, here, taught essential medevac basics, Oct. 2, to members of Military Transition Team 10520 Phoenix, should they need them.
Staff Sgt. Robert Martinez, from Robinson, Texas, a flight medic with Co. C, said the exercise covered various facets of medevac procedures.
"We showed them how to set up landing zones and how to load patients," Martinez said.
"We are trying to see what can best facilitate saving time, saving lives and best help us procure that life and get them to a medical facility."
Martinez taught several techniques to the MiTT team, including litter carries, loading procedures and overall safety.
"The aircraft safety issue is definitely number one more than anything," Martinez said. "Anybody approaching the aircraft has to be careful because we don't want to cause more injury to the patient or cause further casualties."
Medevac evacuations are a time sensitive issue which makes it vital to be as efficient as possible.
"People's adrenaline is already high, so we have to keep cool, calm and collected under those conditions," Martinez said.
Martinez said his personal experiences in combat revealed that Soldiers are sometimes taken by surprise when they are called upon in medevac situations.
"Most people are frazzled because they don't expect contact and the catastrophic events that occur," he said. "Coming from the ground myself that's why I'm in a flight medic community now, so as to be at a higher level of care and to save more lives."
Martinez was impressed with the MiTT team's proficiency at completing the medevac training under the spinning blades of an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
"They did great executing everything. It was a good hands-on orientation which gave them a better understanding of themselves and their troops should anything happen."
Maj. Dante Antonelli, the MiTT's chief, from Fort Bragg, N.C., who helped his team through the procedures, said the intent was to familiarize his team with both hot and cold load medevac situations.
"We did both, so the first time they were exposed to working under a hot rotor system was not in combat," Antonelli said, himself a former medic. "This was important because it gave us a chance to understand the commands they have to take under a rotor system where normal communication is not allowed."
Although some of the MiTT team had worked under these conditions in combat before, some had not.
"This was their first opportunity to actively be under a rotor system with a helicopter," he said. "They met the training objectives today."
Antonelli praised the Co. C medevac team for making the training a valuable experience.
"Their medevac crew supported us on a very short notice training cycle because we are waiting to push from Taji. They responded and were very professional. They got the job done."