News: 1st ABCT combat medics enhance skill set
Story by Staff Sgt. Bernhard Lashleyleidner
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – Sgt. Justin Schmitz, a combat medic with Company C, 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division put Soldiers through the paces during the “Devil” first responder course July 15 to 17.
The DFR course was created in 2013 to enhance certified combat lifesavers’ life-saving skills and to increase medical proficiency among combat medics.
“DFR is more in-depth than the CLS course, because it prepares Soldiers to provide medical care in the absence of combat medical personnel,” Schmitz said. “Most lives are lost on the battlefield due to lack of immediate hemorrhage control.” “This course gives Soldiers the confidence and competence to provide basic medical skills and the knowledge to properly evaluate, and treat injured Soldiers.”
Schmitz, a native of King George, Va., was chosen to be the lead instructor of the course because of his vast medical skills, because he was a key member during the course inception, and one of the few original instructors still in the brigade, said Staff Sgt. Naytasha Robins, a combat medic noncommissioned officer in charge with Co. C, 101st BSB, 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., and native of Columbia, S.C.
“We wanted to give certified CLS Soldiers a preview of what the DFR course is and how it will enhance their capabilities on the battlefield,” Robin said.
The initial training included refresher CLS and didactic skills training followed by Soldiers learning to open airways, stop bleeding, tourniquet application. The students used mannequins and live patients to simulate injures throughout the course
The final day of the course included a simulated trauma training exercise where Soldiers’ physical endurance and medical knowledge was tested during an eight-station round robin-style course.
The instructors challenged Soldiers by making them diagnose, treat and transport the wounded while wearing their protective masks through the first half of the emergency trauma lanes.
“The DFR course is definitely high speed and realistic compared to the CLS course,” Pfc. Samantha Gamache, a radio, and communication security repairer with 101st BSB, 1st ABCT, 1st Inf., a native of Milford, Kan., said. “They made me a squad leader and I had to tell Soldiers how to evaluate, treat and evacuate the wounded, which was new to me, because I am the lowest ranked-ranked Soldier and used to having everyone telling me what to do.”
Schmitz and his team of instructors added elements of chaos and disorders to enhance the stress levels and the learning experience of the 55 Soldiers participating in the simulated training exercise.
“Our purpose is not to stress them out, but to get them thinking about what they are doing and how to provide immediate medical care to a fellow Soldier,” Schmitz said.