CAMP FOSTER, Japan - Shock trauma platoon, prepare to receive casualties! The medical transport vehicle is 10 seconds out. Get ready!” yells one corpsman as others jump to their feet. The 7-ton truck sounds its horn and is immediately swarmed by waiting corpsmen. As the latches are unlocked and the doors swing open, wounded Marines are pulled from the vehicle.
Thankfully, this is only a training exercise under the watchful eyes of shock trauma advanced training center instructors.
Corpsmen with 3rd Medical Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, completed a forward resuscitative care course March 23-28 at the STAT center on Camp Foster.
The five-day course curriculum refreshes previously learned casualty-care skills and teaches new skills to those who do not have much real life casualty-care experience.
“The course goes in depth on all the initial training new corpsmen have been given,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brendan D. Tran, an instructor at the STAT center, which is operated by 3rd Medical Bn. “We want to reinforce the knowledge they already have and also teach them tricks of the trade that can help them become more effective at their job.”
Throughout the course, corpsmen learned skills such as tactical combat casualty care and how to treat shock, triage patients, and use specialized equipment. Between classes, instructors tested the students with practical application simulations.
“The simulations ensure the students have retained the knowledge we taught them and that they are applying it properly,” said Tran. “We want them to be prepared for anything that may happen in the field. Every once in a while, we’ll throw an unexpected event in to see how they react.”
Instructors with the course are hand-selected by the battalion because of their knowledge and firsthand experience of the curriculum, which brings a connection to real-world scenarios. Though the training is made to teach life-saving skills, it also builds teamwork, confidence and communication.
“Corpsmen need to be on the same level as nurses and (medical) providers,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerricson B. Peralta, an instructor at the STAT center. “Casualties will get better treatment from corpsmen because of courses like this.”
The course culminates with a written test and a mass-casualty practical application exercise. During the exercise, students work together without any guidance from the instructors. From the moment the simulated casualties arrive to the time of their extraction, they are under the care of the students.
“The course gives us hands-on experience with processes that most of us have only read about,” said Seaman Matthew S. Brown, a student in the course and corpsman with the battalion. “The exercises kept us on our feet and made us think about our decisions at every turn. Everyone should have the chance to go through the course.”
The course is not limited to corpsmen alone, as Marines are welcome to attend. Tran hopes to see it expand even further.
“I really hope that this course becomes a bigger event,” said Tran. “I hope to see it expanded to the other services, as well as to the international community. The more people brought into the (course), the better (everyone’s) live-saving skills can become.”