By By Spc. Brian Johnson 1434th Engr. Co, USD-CFebruary 1, 2010
BAGHDAD - Medics from 16th Engineer Brigade taught Iraqi counterparts some basic medical skills at the Iraqi Old Ministry of Defense building Jan. 25.
At the request of an Iraqi military commander, the medics agreed to teach 11th Iraqi Army Field Engineer Regiment soldiers how to splint broken bones, control bleeding, and move patients without adding to their injuries.
"The idea for the medical training did not come from the U.S. Army, but at a request from the Iraqi Army," said Master Sgt. Cheryl Clark from Lancaster, Ohio, the brigade partnership noncommissioned officer. "When the general and his staff met with the local Iraqi commander, they asked him what kind of training he would like or need for his soldiers. The need for basic medical training was expressed."
After the training was developed, the brigade sent members of its medical staff out to help conduct the training.
Specialist Donald Pigg from Mogadore, Ohio, a health care specialist with 16th Eng. Bde., helped instruct the class. Pigg said the training was a different experience.
"I have taught classes before," said Pigg. "But here, I had to talk, and then wait for the translator to explain what I just said, and then continue teaching."
Pigg provided many training aids to help the Iraqis better understand what they were taught, including bandages, and splints and training slides in both Arabic and English. Pigg noticed that the language barrier seemed to fall away during many of the hands-on exercises.
"There was a universal understanding for what was being trained when I was showing the Iraqi soldiers how to splint a broken bone, or how to help control bleeding," said Pigg.
Colonel Brett Call, from Amanda, Ohio, helped supervise the medical training. Call works as an Emergency Room physician at Berger Hospital when back home in Circleville, Ohio.
"Of the 19 Soldiers in the class, there were four who had basic medical training," said Call. "We wanted to make sure that with the techniques that we taught to the Iraqis, they would be able to treat themselves with items that they had readily available."
Call noted that the Iraqi soldiers may not always have U.S. medical supplies available.
"We had to make sure that there was an acceptable Iraqi substitute to everything, from splints to tourniquets to pressure dressings" said Call.
Pigg observed the success that the training had achieved: "The Iraqi soldiers really understood that this training could save their life or help them to save the life of their buddy."