ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Charlie “Cobra” Company of the 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, conducted an awards ceremony at Forward Operating Base Apache, July 21.
The ceremony recognized the efforts of two noncommissioned officers of Charlie Company, 2-3 General Support Aviation Battalion, for their outstanding training support.
Sgt. Jodi Learner and Sgt. 1st Class Joseph McCormick, of the medical evacuation platoon, facilitated the training and certification of fourteen Cobra medics earned the advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support qualifications.
McCormick coordinated the training with the Cobras after recognizing Learner’s hunger to share her knowledge and experience with junior medics. Once Learner was deemed mission ready, McCormick, the medevac platoon sergeant, said he “put her in charge of medical training and she just dominated.”
Charlie Company commander Capt. Tyler Garrett opined that the training was a great opportunity for both organizations. It not only contributed to Learner’s professional development, but also gave the Cobra medics an opportunity to learn new skills that will make them even more valuable to the Army.
ACLS and PALS are highly valuable civilian certifications qualifications that will allow for the Cobra medics to effectively administer specialized aid to patients in high stress situations.
The ACLS certification is recognized by those in the medical community as the highest standard for emergency cardiac care. The PALS certification is equally as important, and qualifies medical professionals in the emergency treatment of children, infants and newborns.
“Nothing gets people in a panic faster than seeing a baby in severe distress,” says 1st Sgt. John Case, the Cobras’ senior noncommissioned officer. “Having the knowledge to recognize distress and intervene when needed allows for a much calmer and controlled situation.”
The training for these certifications requires close attention to detail, and covers a variety of highly technical skills. McCormick was highly impressed by the Cobras, saying that these “young medics took a lot of personal time to study. They’re very intelligent, very hungry and eager to learn.”
As a result of their dedication and superior instruction, all of the medics who took part in the training passed the written exam on their first attempt. Now, thanks to McCormick and Learner, fourteen medics from C Company, 201st BSB, have both certifications, a rare qualification for Army medics.
In addition to the ACLS and PALS certification, McCormick and Learner also coordinated to allow the Cobra medics to receive training on and to assist with medevac operations. The flight medics of 2-3 GSAB trained the Cobras on Back Wall Medic procedures, including medevac-specific blood protocols. These blood protocols cover the requirements and procedures for administering blood products to critically-wounded soldiers in flight, part of a new transfusion process known as the Vampire Program.
Medics trained in medevac blood protocols are important force multipliers who “greatly increase our capabilities in treating coalition forces,” says McCormick.
For Case, the most significant aspect of the training was the time and effort these noncommissioned Officers spent on the Cobra Medics with no incentive other than to better their fellow soldiers.
“McCormick and Learner have given a lot of their time to train soldiers that are not even in their unit… Hopefully, none of this training will ever be needed, but they have trained the Cobras of their own free will with nothing expected in return, and for that we are grateful.”
To show their gratitude, Garrett and Case, along with Lt. Col. Scott Shore, commander, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, presented McCormick and Learner with Army Achievement Medals on the evening of July 21.