News: Corpsmen get advanced refresher course
Story by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels
AT SEA - The practice of medicine is just that, practice. Nothing is definite and the unexpected is a near certainty. Staying proficient in the skills that save lives is an absolute necessity while on the battlefield.
Corpsmen assigned to the component units of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted a practical application exercise in tactical combat casualty care aboard the USS Kearsarge while at sea Feb. 8, 2013.
At the start of the TCCC simulation, seven casualties were laid out on stretchers with different forms of trauma, unbeknownst to the corpsmen being tested. When the training started, they had to assess and treat the notional injuries, which were annotated by writing on tape placed on the site of the injury while simultaneously calming the simulated distress displayed by the casualties.
“TCCC teaches corpsmen and Marines how to properly take care of injuries in the field if they become injured or wounded,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Roger Barnett, a Waynesboro, Miss., native, and Battalion Landing Team 3/2 leading corpsman.
TCCC, often referred to as ‘T triple C,’ is a more advanced class following their initial schooling.
“Even though they have already gone through corpsman training, anybody can slip up and become complacent and forget to practice their common skills,” said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Gabriel Carranza, BLT 3/2 corpsman and TCCC instructor from Dallas, Texas. “Because of this, every other six months we administer a test to see where they are at with their skills. After that, we debrief them on their strong points and have them work on their weak points.”
The knowledge corpsmen possess ranges from testing water supplies for purity to treating a bullet wound. This course focuses on the treatment of injuries that can occur during a combat scenario.
“This course is about tactical field care,” said Carranza, before adding it is required for corpsmen to take the course 180 days before deployment. “We have to teach a certain amount of skills before they deploy to make sure they are combat ready. We also have to make sure they learn how to incorporate these different techniques, whether it be new or old, to … modernize the treatment they use on the battlefield injuries of today.”
With injuries being a grimly inevitable part of war, the instructors highly recommend this course, or the combat lifesavers course, which is also an advanced class, geared more for Marines rather than corpsmen.
“This is a very informational course,” said Carranza. “I would recommend this course to everyone. You never know when your time may come when you need to help, and the person next to you doesn’t know how to do tactical medicine. In any condition given, in any clime or place, you have to know medicine to save lives.”
The 26th MEU is conducting its Composite Training Unit Exercise, the final phase of a six-month pre-deployment training program. The 26th MEU operates continuously across the globe, providing the president and unified combatant commanders with a forward-deployed, sea-based quick reaction force. The MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations.