U.S. Navy, ADF participate in Valkyrie emergency fresh whole blood transfusion training

26 May 2024 | Cpl. Juan Torres PEO Land Systems

“You guys are the Marines’ doctors; there’s no better in the business than Navy corpsmen,” U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lewis B. ‘Chesty’ Puller told his corpsmen during the Korean War.

This enduring trust highlights the critical role Navy corpsmen play on the battlefield, a role that continually evolves with advancements in medical training and technology. When your line of work is to save lives in non-combat and combat environments, no realm of training should be left unseen.

In 2017, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Russell Wier, then the battalion surgeon for 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, recognized a pressing need. He saw the potential to save more lives by bringing emergency fresh whole blood transfusions to the battlefield. Inspired by the U.S. Army special operation’s Ranger O Low Titer Whole Blood Program, Wier developed the ‘Valkyrie’ program. This innovative initiative has since been adopted across I Marine Expeditionary Force and II MEF, bringing advanced life-saving capabilities to the corpsmen level.

“Valkyrie is our emergency fresh whole blood program. It’s a curriculum designed to teach students how to do live blood transfusions in the field, as well as manage and take care of multiple casualties with different injury patterns,” explained Petty Officer 2nd Class Abm Asim, a hospital corpsman and Valkyrie instructor with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3.

MRF-D 24.3 U.S. Navy corpsmen showcased the Valkyrie program’s expanding influence. Sailors taught and collaborated alongside Australian Army medical technicians with 1st Health Battalion, 2nd Health Brigade, sharing crucial life-saving techniques during a three-day Valkyrie emergency fresh whole blood transfusion training class.

“The program was originally piloted for use in conventional warfare by 5th Marines and has been further expanded by the 1st Marine Division Navy Education and Training Office into what it is today,” said Asim. “We are here teaching the Australian Defence Force a program that we started to increase our survivability and capabilities with our Allies.”

The ADF currently does not have a field environment emergency fresh whole blood transfusion program but aims to develop one similar to Valkyrie.

“It’s important to know how you guys do things and you guys know how we do things, so we can work out what works best for us both,” said Australian Army PTE. Melissa Murray, a medical technician with 1st Health Bn., 2nd Health BDE, and student of the Valkyrie training. “I’ve learned a lot throughout the course, and I think it’s really amazing. I can’t wait for us to have our own program.”

Service members who participate in the Valkyrie course become better equipped to save lives. As the nature of military medicine evolves, the Valkyrie program continues to expand and develop.

“The future of the Valkyrie course looks like incorporating this training and these curriculums into the basic level of training for all of our first responders in the Army, Navy and the Air Force,” said Asim. “We hope to standardize this protocol across the entire Department of Defense.”

With a commitment to innovation and collaboration, the Valkyrie emergency fresh whole blood transfusion training program exemplifies the relentless pursuit of excellence in military medical care, ensuring that those who risk their lives on the battlefield receive the best possible support.

I Marine Expeditionary Force