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    PATRIOT Exercise increases ANG training capability

    VOLK FIELD, Wis. - How many slides must an Airman read, before they can call them an Airman? Can a presentation projected on a wall provide the skills necessary to save their wingman’s life, or their own? Or does it take more? Does it take shouting and stress and sweat?

    “The model of TCCC as NAEMT delivers it is a little more comprehensive, it’s heavily based in simulation. The reason they want that combat simulation, tourniquet use, moving patients and moulage, is because it really captures what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” said Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Theberge, superintendent of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Medical Group, Detachment 1, from the New Hampshire National Guard. “I was a Self Aid Buddy Care advisor and monitor for years, and it never touched on that. This is a completely different model.”

    Tactical Combat Casualty Care, or TCCC, is now the military standard for pre-hospital trauma life support. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) provides oversight for the TCCC training program, which adds a combat aspect to civilian EMS training.

    The combat aspect is one way TCCC differentiates itself from casualty care training that’s been used in the past.

    Theberge, who has been a medic for 10 years in the Air National Guard, and acts as the lead medical planner for the National Guard Bureau at the PATRIOT exercise, went on to describe another key difference in the TCCC program; what it takes to be an instructor.

    “You have to be a nationally registered EMT, you have to take the 16 hour TCCC class, you have to score very well on the test, and there’s a continuing education component through NAEMT,” said Theberge. “You also have to keep current by teaching two TCCC classes per year to maintain your instructor status.”

    The joint-force and domestic operations focus of the PATRIOT exercise, coupled with the high level of realism that can be achieved with the facilities at Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Centers like Volk Field, provide a premium platform to provide medical personnel the chance to build a course that is challenging and engaging. Sound effects, combat role-playing, and simulated patients and injuries called “moulage” raise the intensity of the training.

    “At the bare minimum, you can teach TCCC in a classroom without moulage, without strobes, without smoke grenades, without klaxons. But we try to up it every time,” Theberge said. “This time we had a great facility where we could do some real exercises. Moving forward for PATRIOT we want to up it again with some smoke machines and improve our sound system to make it more confusing. People are shocked by it when they see it for the first time.”

    After the classroom portion of TCCC, medical personnel run through scenarios where their decision making skills and training are put to the test. Role-playing combatants shouting, sound effects of incoming medevac helicopters, and even crying babies add real life stress to the exercise. In Theberge’s opinion, the realism reinforces the training, and engages new potential instructors.

    “Delivering that kind of model makes the class better, they enjoy it, and gives that realistic feel to it. It helps gain interest to make new instructors,” Theberge said, including that it’s truly up to the instructors to create the environment of realism. “Out of this class of 12, we’ve generated eight potential, new instructors.”

    The PATRIOT exercise, hosted by the Air National Guard, will continue adding more classes. Theberge expects up to 90 students at the next exercise, and hopes to continue developing a high percentage of instructors. The “All Combatants” course of TCCC, which will replace Self Aid Buddy Care in the future, will require a large corps of certified instructors, who can reach units across the U.S. The PATRIOT exercise provides the ANG the development path to fulfill the need for training.

    “What we’re doing with the PATRIOT exercises, this is the only place I know that we’re creating new instructors for TCCC on this level. It’s compounding with every class, throughout different organizations across the nation,” said Theberge. “We’re sustaining the instructor pool, reviving the instructor pool by gaining new ones, and we’re meeting the AFI for people getting the TCCC training. We’re checking a whole bunch of boxes.”



    Date Taken: 07.12.2019
    Date Posted: 07.30.2019 13:00
    Story ID: 332109
    Location: US

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