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I Marine Expeditionary Force

In Every Clime and Place

Bridging Gap between naval medicine, Marine Corps tactics

By Lance Cpl. Seth Starr | | May 29, 2014

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Students from the Field Medical Training Battalion West aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., train how they’re expected to perform in a combat environment. Corpsmen who attend FMTB are immersed in Marine Corps culture, experiencing training on a realistic scale to prepare them for the potential rigors of battle.

Marine Corps and Navy instructors from FMTB taught students the basics of hemorrhage control aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 23. 
 
Sgt. Daniel Pereira, an instructor at Field Medical Training Battalion, explained his position and experience is used to ready students for life in the Fleet Marine Force. Students are taught customs and courtesies, Marine Corps history and the basics of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. 

“We specialize in the individual tasking for the students; that is patrolling, security halts and overall tactics,” said Pereira. “The Marine Corps instructors at FMTB are specifically designated to bridge the gap between the Marine Corps war fighting prowess and Navy medicine.” 

Training consists of many aspects of emergency and tactical combat care focused on supporting all facets of the Marine Corps mission. Students learn the fundamentals of stabilizing patients in combat by repeating exercises until their techniques are perfected. They learn to perform tracheotomies and needle decompressions to the lungs to ensure victims of gunshot wounds or blasts do not suffocate.
 
“We facilitate training in hemorrhage control and teach students how to get to a patient in a high-stress environment within 120 seconds to stop any major injury or bleed from progressing further and stabilize the wounded victim,” said Pereira. “We call this kind of training, ‘Care Under Fire’ and it’s used to simulate a combat environment and minimize the time needed to reach and treat a casualty.”

Seaman Tony Gomer, a student at FMTB, said he recognizes the purpose of the realism behind the mental and physical stressors placed on himself and his peers. 

“Whether we’re out in the field, in theater, or back home in garrison, things can sometimes go wrong very quickly and it’s on us to ensure that we save lives and care for the Marines that have been entrusted to us,” said Gomer. “If we hesitate in the slightest bit or are unsure of our job then we’ve failed our Marines before we’ve even begun.”

When students have completed the nine-week course they will be sent to units across the Marine Corps to apply what they have learned in order to save and preserve lives.

“We build off of the foundation of Navy medicine so that no matter what Marine Corps unit these students go to, they will have a substantial knowledge of tactical medicine,” said Pereira. “They learn everything from setting a splint to creating new airways in order to better aid the mission of the Marine Corps according to the commander’s intent.”
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