By 1st Lt. Rendy Yudhistira
4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Medics posses a unique trait to a unit's mission of taking care of Soldiers, but when their knowledge is shared, it increases their capabilities 10 fold.
Multi-National Division – Baghdad medics of Company C, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division taught basic life-saving skills to more than 200 new base defense security force personnel, Aug. 8-10, 2008, at Forward Operating Base Falcon, located in southern Baghdad's Rashid District.
The medic trainers, who also maintain the 24-hour service provided at the Cobra Tactical Medical Center on FOB Falcon, ensured the new guardians of the coalition base were trained and prepared to react quickly to on-scene patient care.
"We trained on the principles of life-saving," said Sgt. Vicente Ayala, a combat medic assigned to Co. C, 4th Supt. Bn., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B, who hails from San Antonio. "Everything they needed to know about initial patient care, we made sure they understood."
The security force personnel from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology, Inc., a private security company based out of Tennessee, are contracted by the U.S. Government to guard and secure base towers, entry gates and the dining facility on FOB Falcon.
A small group of the EODT personnel are trainers and supervisors from the United States, but Ugandan citizens comprise the core group of security personnel.
EODT security personnel are contracted on FOBs across Iraq. They are known for their tactical proficiency, professionalism, and having the security of Armed Forces service members as their top priority.
The instructors taught two-hour blocks of instruction with each class broken down to groups of 20. The class consisted of two morning blocks and one afternoon block each day for three days.
The first phase of the class was a presentation of First Aid basics, such as patient responsiveness, airway, breathing, bleeding, fractures and shock.
Although the class was made up entirely of the EODT security personnel from Uganda, there were no communication issues between the medics and the class, said Staff Sgt. Joseph Grinder, a health care non-commissioned officer, assigned to Co. C, 4th Supt. Bn.
"They were all very attentive and spoke excellent English," said Grinder, who hails from Palm Beach, Fla. "They were excited to learn, and their energy definitely rubbed off on us."
After the initial presentation phase, the class participated in hands-on exercises. During this block of instruction, the health care NCOs tested the security team on how to check for responsiveness, open a patient's airway, apply tourniquets, apply bandages and splints and other tips to stop bleeding and stabilize fractures.
The most nerve-racking skill of the class was inserting a nasal pharyngeal tube inside a patient's nose in order to secure an airway, said Ayala.
"Sticking a tube down your nose would make anyone nervous," he explained, "but in order to gain their trust and confidence, we made sure that we demonstrated on each other first."
It was the expertise and confidence of the medics that had the EODT personnel grateful for the classes, stated one of the EODT personnel attending the class.
"I enjoyed the first aid class, and it will be very useful for us in the future," he said.
The medics of "Cobra" Co., 4th Supt. Bn., continue to volunteer themselves to train others on FOB Falcon, stated Sgt. Shateeka Douglas, a health care NCO from Baldwin, La., Co. C, 4th Supt. Bn., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B.
"It is a chance for them to share our medical knowledge, while building better relations with others," she explained.
"This was an excellent opportunity to not only train the personnel who we have entrusted to guard and look out for us inside the FOB, but it was also a great opportunity to build new friendships with them," Douglas said.