News: Philippines Marines, 13th MEU Marines exchange medical techniques
Story by Lance Cpl. David Hersey
CROW VALLEY RANGE COMPLEX, CAMP O’DONNELL, CAPAS, TARLAC, Philippines - Tension runs high as the simulated casualty lies on the ground awaiting a Marine to apply a tourniquet to his leg and an instructor shouts directions.
This was part of a scenario used during a tactical combat casualty care course Sept. 18 at Crow Valley Range Complex, Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, Republic of the Philippines during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
During the course, Philippine Marines and U.S. Marines and sailors with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit practiced various techniques to help service members identify common combat-related injuries and treat them, according to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Bobby A. Whited, a U.S. Navy corpsman and course instructor with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 13th MEU. While important, the techniques are meant to ensure the Marine survives while being transported to proper medical help.
“We can’t teach them to perform surgery on the field,” said Whited. “The techniques we showed are for use in the field to make sure the casualty can survive long enough to be evacuated and transported to a secure area where they can receive proper medical treatment.”
Sharing the knowledge and techniques of how each force accomplishes their mission helps to build teamwork and trust between them, according to Philippine Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jose P. Mojica, a corpsman with the participating Philippine unit.
“What we learn here we can take and teach to future generations,” said Mojica. “If we ever need to work together we will know each other’s techniques and can be better equipped to help each other.”
Techniques covered during the course included applying a tourniquet, securing a broken limb, clearing obstructions for breathing, and administering intravenous fluids.
Many of the techniques practiced here are applicable outside of a combat environment as well, according to U.S. Navy Seaman Torrey M. Meharry, a navy corpsman with BLT 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.
“These techniques could be just as useful when saving someone from battlefield wounds as someone injured in a car wreck or similar accidents,” said Meharry.
PHIBLEX 14, involving Philippine service members and forces from the 13th MEU, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade and III Marine Expeditionary Force, is a bilateral training exercise that demonstrates the commitment of the United States and Republic of the Philippines to mutual security and ensures the readiness of a bilateral force to rapidly respond to regional humanitarian crises.
The course is one of the ways that the Marines and sailors accomplished that mission, according to Whited.
“By sharing our knowledge we don’t just help each other get better,” said Whited. “We also show what we’re capable of regarding our responses to situations where lives may be in our hands.”