KANDAHAR AIRFIELD (Army News Service, June 21, 2012) -- The feedback students receive from realistic mannequins at the Medical Simulation Training Center, or MSTC, can be very harsh and exacting. If students don't apply a tourniquet properly or open an airway quickly in training scenarios, an "injured" mannequin with simulated vital signs can quickly deteriorate into a "lifeless" mannequin.

Experiencing a simulated death can be a tough lesson for a student. But it's better to experience the lesson on a training site than the battlefield, said Gerald Smith, MSTC site leader.

"The training here is special because it features realistic scenarios for students," Smith said. "We feature $50,000 medical mannequins that breathe and bleed just like a real person."

Smith teaches all servicemembers at the MSTC life-saving skills ranging from standard combat life saver courses to advanced, battle-simulated medical training. He said MSTC provides a curriculum that balances the basics as well as the latest battlefield techniques.

Smith said a training facility like this is rare, especially in Afghanistan. Aside from this MSTC, Bagram Airfield is the only other location in Afghanistan that has an MSTC. There were six MSTCs throughout Afghanistan, but only two remain due to troop draw downs, Smith said.

Around 300 servicemembers are trained each week, but Smith said the MSTC had the capability to train even more troops each week. He emphasized the center is eager to share important medical-treatment knowledge with all service branches.

"We are here to support everyone," Smith said. "The opportunities for unique, high-quality training exist here. Some units just don't know who we are and what we have to offer."