FORT BLISS, Texas - Medics assigned to First Army teach, coach and mentor deploying medics in the National Guard and Army Reserve. To do so, they are committed to providing the most realistic training scenarios possible to ensure deploying units are prepared for any scenario they encounter while deployed.
During her mission as an observer coach/trainer, or OC/T, Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Douglas of First Army's 2nd Battalion, 410th Brigade Support Battalion, 177th Armored Brigade, found an innovative way to mentor deploying medics of the Mississippi National Guard's 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team.
She decided she would bring that much-needed realistic element to the OC/T mission herself through a makeup practice known as moulage.
"Moulage is the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training," said Douglas. Douglas uses a combination of commercial and man-made prosthetics along with liquid latex, one-ply toilet paper, make up and stage blood to create battlefield injuries.
Douglas has been in the Army for almost 18 years and deployed three times - once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq. Her experiences led her to find a better way to teach medics in Mass Casualty, or MASCAL, procedures.
"They were just told that a mannequin had an injury and where the injury was located," said Douglas of previous training scenarios. "There is a lot of moving pieces during a MASCAL and it can be quite difficult to concentrate on injuries that you can't see or injuries that don't look realistic."
Douglas admits she has no formal training, but used lessons learned from YouTube videos and years of applying Halloween makeup as her inspiration.
"Once I felt that my skills were decent enough, I gave an informal moulage class to the rest of theTask Force 177 medical OC/Ts," said Douglas.
The practice built readiness by getting medics acquainted with the look and feel of injuries they may encounter while deployed. Over the course of the past 90 days, Douglas and her team incorporated this technique into training with the Mississippi Army National Guard's 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team and even helped their medics by creating their own moulage kits.
"These moulage kits are a combination of latex, make-up and imagination that gives combat medics and combat lifesavers a real world feel," said Lt. Col George Rollinson, commander, 2nd Bn., 410th BSB.
"What she's done is helped build legacies of excellence that will endure beyond this one deployment."