By Sgt. Ben Hutto, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf Div Public AffairsJune 26, 2010
COS KALSU, Iraq - Ten policemen from Babil and Karbala Provinces graduated from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division's tactical combat medical care course at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu.
The five-day course was designed to teach students practical ways to treat combat injuries.
"It is an advanced first-responder course," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Mollett, a medic assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment. "Most of them know the basic things like clearing an airway or stopping bleeding. What we do is break everything down to the basics and build from there."
This was the eighth time that the course has been taught and instructors were happy with the policemen's progress.
"The entire process went well," said Sgt. Deshon Bell, a medic assigned to Company C, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion. "From day one to graduation, everything turned out well. Most of them have the skills; they just need to be fine-tuned. The entire idea behind the course was to teach them to be resourceful and use what they have."
Both medics said the course was more about demonstrations and exercises than formal classroom instruction.
"They are just like (U.S.) Soldiers," said Mollett, a native of Columbus, Ohio. "They don't like slide shows but love hands-on training. They learn better that way, too."
Both instructors were impressed with the way the policemen were eager to leave the comforts of their air-conditioned classrooms and train in 100-degree heat.
"They have a lot of pride in who they are," Mollett said. "They are eager to take this training back with them and share it with the guys at their stations."
While most of the graduates were knowledgeable about healthcare, many of them picked up valuable information.
"I have been a policeman for ten years," said Quasi Edan Hussein of Wasit Province. "Before, when I was working on casualties, I would just pull on them and try to get them out of danger. Now, I know how to work on the most severe injuries and how I need to do it."
The lack of basic medical knowledge has proved detrimental to the police officers in many cases.
"We were pulling people through the dust and poisoning their wounds, but we didn't know that then," said Rasheed Kanfar Qasim, a policeman in Babil Province. "I learned that taking a pulse with two fingers was easier than taking it with your thumb. There was so much I was not aware of."
Bell was impressed with how his students were able to think outside the box and come up with scenarios and questions they would likely to encounter.
"They asked a lot of questions, actually," said Bell, a San Antonio native. "They wanted to find alternative ways of doing things when we taught something. For them, it was about having an 'A' and a 'B' plan."
Bell said most of his students were knowledgeable about first aid, but many lacked the tactical understanding to fully employ their skills.
"They had to learn to protect themselves before treating their patients in a tactical situation," Bell said. "It took them a minute to understand that. They also didn't understand triage and order of precedent when it came to injuries. They prefer to work on one patient at a time and go in order. Now, I think they understand what injuries can wait and which ones need to be fixed right away."
The class also gave policemen the chance to interact with U.S. Soldiers on a more personal level.
"I had a bad view of the American Army before I came here," said Qusia Edan Hussein, a policeman from Wasit Province. "Here, I have found them different. Outside of the base, they never really spoke to us. On the base, they are very friendly. We talk with them. We eat with them. It is good."
Mollett said more classes are planned.
"We look forward to teaching people here," he said. "It is a good experience for everyone involved."