CAMP MEJID, Iraq --
The commitment of U.S. forces and the perseverance of Iraqi Security Forces is leading to the creation of a modern and progressive Iraqi military force. Although IA aptitude of combat strategy and techniques has unquestionably improved, medical care on the battlefield is a matter that still requires attention to avoid unnecessary casualties.
Soldiers with Company C, 307th Battalion Support Brigade, 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (Advise and Assist Brigade), worked with Military Transition Team 7 to hold a combat lifesaver course at Camp Mejid, an IA base located aboard Al Asad Air Base, Dec. 31, 2009.
The Personal Security Detachment for the 7th IA Division deputy commanding general attended the training and learned to treat injuries ranging from minor lacerations to severe hemorrhages and respiratory failure.
“Combat lifesaver training teaches you first aid skills that go well above what is normally taught in boot camp or basic training … not quite to the level of a medic or a corpsman, but to the point that they can assist a medic or corpsman in the event of a mass casualty,” explained Petty Officer 1st Class Byron Garcia, a corpsmen with MiTT-7. “Prior to this training, they really didn’t have a grasp on first aid.”
Swift medical attention is vital and often greatly improves chances of survival. During the first hour after sustaining a life-threatening injury, known as “the golden hour,” proper medical care often means the difference between life and death.
“They learn the three phases of care … care under fire, technical field care and quickly preparing and moving the patient for evacuation,” noted Spc. Aubrey Stodo, a medic with Company C. “We’re trying to teach them the appropriate times to do things. One of the biggest things to learn is immediate reaction. You can’t stop to think. Medical care has to be an immediate reaction, and that’s what we’re trying to get across.”
As Iraq becomes increasingly stable and the number of attacks continues to decrease, many certified IA CLS graduates will, with any luck, never need to use their recently acquired skills. But if the situation does present itself, these IA soldiers will respond with the speed and ability necessary for preservation of life.
“It was really good training and one thing I know now is to control bleeding … during patient treatment and awaiting evacuation,” said IA Spc. Rady Minjaljabar, a member of the PSD for the 7th IA Div. DCG, speaking through an interpreter. “I can definitely save lives.”