MAY 17, 2017, CAMP JOHNSON, Vt. – Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers tested their medical training here at Camp Johnson in Colchester, May 6.
Charlie Company (Medical), 186th Brigade Support Battalion, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) partnered with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment to perform this training.
“We’re doing MEDEVAC drills,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Slater, critical-care flight medic, C/3-126th AVN (AA). “We’re getting their ground medics to work with us, so they understand how to do transfer of care, what we are looking for and how to load the aircraft properly. The big thing is transfer of care.”
Slater was taking simulated patients from the 186th BSB after the on-ground combat medics performed initial medical care. Slater was attempting to hit the ‘golden hour of medicine’ and highly trained forces assist with that goal.
“The golden hour is the standard of care for medicine from the time of injury to the time of treatment,” said Slater, a Rutland native. “The battlefield can be far away from where medical treatment is. [Combat medics] can only do so much on the frontline itself. If they know how we want our patients loaded, priorities and things like that, it makes it a lot easier for us to get in, get our patients taken care of and get them off the ground.”
The MEDEVAC is one of the final steps, but to get to that point, combat medics need to apply their training to keep their patients alive.
“They are practicing applying tourniquets, needle to chest decompression for tension pneumothorax, as well as immobilization of the C-spine, so they can prepare for transport and then they do evaluations and rechecks throughout the entire lane on the patient’s status,” said 2nd Lt. Nicholas Heredia, a logistics medical officer with the 186th BSB. “The training is real-time for Soldiers…especially for National Guard [Soldiers] because we are natural disaster relief in some cases and that is what we are trying to simulate here.”
The training emphasized the multiple phases of medical treatment, as it is a team effort.
“It’s really important because if we were doing a Defense Support of Civil Authorities mission or if we were in combat, our units will integrate together,” said Maj. Mike Korczykowski, the Charlie Medical Company, 186th BSB commander. “We’ll take the casualty and stabilize them and the air ambulance will come in all sorts of weather to get them. It is very important that we communicate and function together.”
Korczykowski also said training is maximized by working with multiple units at the same time during their limited time window of a single weekend. Members feel time crunch, but they push through it and 2nd Lt. Heredia saw how Soldiers worked through his training lane.
Each drill the unit is working on revalidating the Soldier’s medical skills said Heredia. He also said, being able to put into practice all of the Soldier’s skills in one place in a high intensity and high quality scenario is beneficial for them.
By Staff Sgt. Nathan Rivard, 172nd Public Affairs Detachment