Medics of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division have taken warrior skills medical training to the next level by undergoing tactical combat casualty care instruction, Oct. 27, at Fort Bragg’s Training Support Center.
Typically familiar with mannequins, the medics sharpened their skillset by conducting training on body systems that simulate amputations, bleeding, breathing, pulses and other realistic activities, said John Matthews, project director, Medical Simulation Training Centers, from Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Florida.
Components of TC3, developed by PEO STRI, include traumatic amputation task trainers, airway/needle chest decompression trainers, low-fidelity mannequins, moulage kit, portable bleeding system and an expendables (medical supplies and simulator replaceable parts) kit.
In a train-the-trainer setup, the medics will subsequently take the training back to the company level to teach deployable, non-medical and combat lifesaver Soldiers who can use the advanced skills to treat battlefield injuries, Matthews said.
Given the falloff of deployments, getting realistic training helps to reset Soldiers to where they were during high-deployment cycles, said Lt. Col. William Bimson, an 82nd Abn. Div. surgeon.
“This adds another level of realism that I’ve never seen,” explained Sgt. Maj. Jason McRoberts, 1st BCT, 82nd Abn. Div., and a 23-year Army veteran.
The training is significant because the devices are exportable, which means Soldiers don’t have to go into the field to conduct training, said Matthews. Besides Fort Bragg, Kuwait and Afghanistan (where they were introduced in October), the kits will be rolled out to deploying BCTs in Korea, Germany, Texas, Georgia and New York, with feedback provided to PEO STRI for any final adjustments before being fielded across the Army in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, Matthews added.
It was training that the Soldiers seemed to appreciate.
“When you give people (Soldiers) experience like this, it’s going to give them the edge when they go downrange and they start seeing real trauma. While they haven’t actually seen it before, they’re going to have an idea of what it looks like and it’s going to surprise them less,” said Spc. Collin O’Donnell, a division Soldier. “When guys see the blood, they see the disfigurement, their first reaction is just to stop and not know where to start or what to do, so the more exposure they get to what is as real as possible, the better they can react and know what to do,” he said.
For instance, a non-medical Soldier will immediately know how to prioritize a compromised airway over a crush injury, O’Donnell explained. The TC3 training helps to know which injury to treat first and gives an edge when encountering real trauma downrange.
It’s vital for combat lifesavers to learn such proficiency medical skills.
Most casualties that occur downrange are not initially treated by a medic, said Col. Steven Middlecamp, of the Army Medical Department, which helps establish medical training capabilities. They are instead treated in one or two ways — either by self-treatment or by a battle buddy, which makes TC3 training all the more valuable.
“It’s non-medical Soldiers gaining proficiencies in medical tasks to save lives on the battlefield,” Middlecamp said.