News: Black Sheep conduct medical training
Story by Sgt. Duncan Brennan
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Soldiers from Headquarters Support Company, 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conducted Eagle first responder training at Fort Campbell, Ky., Oct. 24, 2013.
The training was held as an officer professional development exercise. It was also an opportunity to fine tune the idea of incorporating individual movement techniques, physical training and first responder training.
“All the officers in 96th ASB participated in this,” said Sgt. 1st Class Blane Christianson, medic platoon sergeant, HSC, 96th ASB. “This was an officers' professional development session, and we were able to turn it into a testbed for a future training project. We're aiming for this to be 75 percent medical training and 25 percent individual-movement techniques and tactical know-how.”
The training was to refresh skills for those that had gone though the Eagle first responder program. The program is designed to get basic first aid skills to all soldiers within a unit.
“Eagle first responder is not meant to be combat life saver,” said Christianson. “A first responder applies bandages and tourniquets, basic care under fire. A combat life saver is someone who is going to be doing IVs and is trained to give a higher level of care, but not as much as the medics.”
The professional development and the first-responder training coinciding was an opportunity for the medics. The training was also a way to break away from training in a static environment.
“Everyone works in an office all day,” said Sgt. Anthony Marshall, treatment squad leader, HSC, 96th ASB. “What we wanted to do was take them out of that environment and give them hands-on time with the equipment. When they were comfortable with the gear, and gave the head nod that they understood, we gave them the mission.”
In the Army, realistic training is the goal. Through the use of simulators and challenging situations, the situations can push the soldiers to get more out of the training than learning in a classroom environment.
“Our task and our standard are always the same,” said Christianson. “The tasks are set and the standards are set, but we can vary the conditions by placing stressors on our trainees.”
Those stressors came when the soldiers conducted a dismounted patrol. Along they way there was an attack on friendly forces. The goal was to treat the casualties and extract them on foot.
“This training was designed to verify everyone's first-responder skills in a contextual environment,” said Marshall. “They took casualties. While they were treating the casualties, if they weren't moving fast enough, I simulated another attack.”
The ultimate goal of all training is to not only make the soldiers better at task that can save lives, but also to make the training itself better. This was just a test to see where things can be improved.
“We're looking at a bigger training area,” Said Christianson. “We're going to do more iterations with smaller groups the next time we do this. We want every soldier evaluated individually before we put them in groups. Sgt. Marshall had a great idea, and he's brought us this far.”
The next round of training will encompass the rest of the soldiers in HSC, 96th ASB. It will also be more challenging through more evaluations and more difficult scenarios.
“The next time it's going to be bigger and better,” said Marshall. “I've been going around to the training and audio-visual support center and asking how I can simulate more and bigger explosions. I really want this training to be as challenging as possible, they should really feel as if they are under fire during this training.”