3rd Radio trains with corpsmen for combat casualties
By Lance Cpl. Bernadette L. Ainsworth
| | August 24, 2004
U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES PACIFIC, CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Ten Marines from 3rd Radio Battalion, Radio Reconnaissance Platoon learned to efficiently stabilize casualties during Trauma Combat Casualty Care training taught by corpsmen August 16-20.
Radio reconnaissance teams deploy with Marine Expeditionary Units. Prior to deploying on a MEU, they go through a four-month training cycle called the radio reconnaissance instructional program.
This was the first time teams incorporated the casualty care in “medical week”.
During “medical week,” the Marines learn to properly wrap wounds using a life-size dummy as well as other Marines on the team. The dummy, which was dressed in a flak jacket and green shorts, had numerous wounds that were identified during the training. He was also used for evacuation purposes and the Marines practiced giving him shots in the chest.
Each Marine also got practice giving and receiving intravenous lines.
“Due to the sensitive nature of their job, radio reconnaissance teams require a security clearance. That is a huge factor as to why corpsmen are not directly attached to the teams,” said Sgt. Harold L. Wing, Radio Reconnaissance Platoon training chief. “Because of this, these Marines need to be able to apply proper medical techniques.”
Before TCCC training was implemented, only basic first aid and the life saving steps were taught to the reconnaissance teams.
In the past, much of the medical instruction wasn't geared around combat, where as TCCC is designed around combat. Overall the training is much more applicable to real world deployments where these Marines have the potential to encounter combat situations, said Wing.
Although practical application is usually part of Marine Corps training, there are some challenges in making training realistic.
“The most challenging aspect of this evolution is making the training as realistic as possible,” said Navy Lt. David L. Callaway, the battalion surgeon.
“Recreating the chaos of actual combat and still being able to effectively teach and have the material stick to memory is very challenging,” said Wing.
The incorporation of mission scenarios into the training is also new to the medical training.
“We included mission scenarios such as short patrols to get the Marines thinking about their mission, then we would have them react to a medical scenario. Using physical activities (foot patrols), conducting the training at 3 a.m., to get the Marines a little tired and then conducting the medical scenarios was very effective,” said Wing.
With any training, instructors often wonder if their lesson is being learned. With the use of classroom lectures and practical application, these Marines were able to demonstrate the lessons taught in an efficient manner.
“The Marines operate in six man teams – but at any time, anyone of them could be called on to apply life saving steps. During the training, one way to see if they are learning the material is to simply pick a random Marine, give him a medical situation and see if he reacts correctly,” said Wing.
“Even though this was the first time conducting TCCC with Marines, the training evolution was very successful. All the Marines passed the written exam and did very well on the practical application,” said Callaway.