News: Gunfighters and RAAF share training
Story by Capt. Andrew Cochran
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Soldiers from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and airmen from the 1st and 2nd Security Force Squadrons, Royal Australian Air Force, exchanged advanced combat lifesaver and medical evacuation procedures with weapons familiarization at Multi National Base Tarin Kwot, Sept. 16 and 18.
“This is bread and butter training for both soldiers and medics,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Longhenry, a combat medic with Task Force Gunfighters. “The airmen learn better ways to keep their buddies alive and stable, and teaching others keeps medics fresh in their skills cause you need to teach it right. A guy’s life is counting on it.”
The airmen learned combat medic techniques ranging from applying tourniquets to injured limbs to the battlefield steps necessary to help a patient breathe with an emergency field tracheotomy.
In exchange, soldiers from Gunfighters got the experience of learning about and shooting some of the RAAF’s small arms on the range at Tarin Kwot with weapons varying from the Australian Steyr assault rifle to a fifty caliber anti-material rifle.
“I think this training opportunity is awesome,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Meyer, a combat medic with Task Force Gunfighters. “The training allows us to teach the Australian airmen about medical evacuation, how we treat patients once we receive them in the helicopter and advanced medical techniques which help keep injured personnel alive.”
Both Cpl. William Gil, a section leader with SecFor who trained with the U.S. Air Force before in Australia, and Leading Aircraftman Simon Penman look forward to showing the soldiers from Gunfighters what SecFor does in return for learning more about helicopters and how Army aviation does business.
“I think it was really good training,” Gil said. “We [the RAAF] get down into the nitty gritty, but the way it was explained was very basic and to the point. All the boys really appreciated it.”
“I think both countries need to do a lot more training together,” said Penman. “Not just in a deployment area, but maybe back home and learn off of each other. The chance of seeing both sides is important.”
Building relationships and shooting some weapons is better than watching TV or playing video games, Gil finished.
SecFor provides base security in Camp Holland, a subsection of MNB Tarin Kwot, and routinely patrols in and around the MNB.
Future training events planned between the two units are medical hoist training using UH-60 Black Hawks and security clearing procedures for suspect vehicles and personnel.