By Lance Cpl. Erik S. Brooks Jr.
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan – Corpsmen with 3rd Medical Battalion completed the tactical combat casualty care course at the Tactical Medical Simulation Center at Camp Hansen.
The corpsmen, with 3rd Med. Bn., Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, are required to take the course every two years.
“TCCC is designed for the corpsmen to learn how to treat patients on the battlefield,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Diamse P. Fernan, a TCCC instructor at the simulation center. “Our goal is to eliminate preventable deaths.”
Students learned the order in which to treat patients’ injuries, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian B. Kirks, a TCCC instructor.
“We teach the corpsmen to use the acronym MARCH when treating patients,” said Fernan.
Major hemorrhages are checked first to stop all critical bleeding, according to Fernan. Assessing the air way is next and ensures the wind pipe is not damaged. A respiratory check follows to make sure the patient is breathing properly. A circulation check is then performed to make sure they have no arterial bleeding. Finally, a head to toe assessment of the patient is performed.
“We stress the importance of taking care of the major injuries first to best treat patients,” said Fernan. “This allows them to keep a cool head when downrange.”
The corpsmen also learned how to help control patients’ breathing while on the battlefield.
“In this course we also teach surgical airway placement,” said Fernan. “It allows the patient to breathe by placing a tube either down the patient’s throat or by cutting a hole outside the neck and sliding the tube down the windpipe.”
Corpsmen were taught how to identify the problem and what equipment to use in each situation, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven V. Garcia, a surgery technician with the battalion. “Knowing your gear is important when you are deployed, so you know what to use on a patient.”
Once their classroom lesson was complete, the corpsmen moved to hands-on training.
“We placed the corpsmen in an environment similar to what they would see when deployed,” said Kirks. “The corpsmen (were) in a dark room with the sound of (gunfire) and smoke in the air. The environment basically makes them revert back to the training they learned.”
When the corpsmen are in the simulation room, they are assessed by the instructors to make sure they are doing everything correctly, according to Kirks.
“We look to make sure they are following the procedures step-by-step,” said Kirks. “Also making sure they use the right equipment and apply the right bandages. Basically, we look for those life saving interventions.”
Everyone learned communication is key to being successful in a combat environment, according to Garcia. “With everything going on around (you), it is important to talk to your fellow corpsmen.”
The corpsmen responded very well to the training, according to Kirks. They took the lessons learned in the classroom and demonstrated them during hands-on training.
“This course taught me to use my muscle memory and fall back on my training when put (in) a stressful situation,” said Garcia.