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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2011

Massachusetts National Guard train first responders in Tajikistan

By Sgt. Jeremiah Clark Massachusetts Army National Guard

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan - A dozen nurses and doctors sprint into the courtyard as a gruesome scene unfolds.

Casualties are sprawled out all over the ground. A man runs around screaming, another is spread out with a fractured skull from the brick lying next to him and right in front is a women, unconscious with a branch impaling her leg. It is utter pandemonium.

This is where all of the training is going to be put to good use.

Ripping through the packaging of a tourniquet, one nurse evaluates the victim, minor bleeding and unresponsive.

"Stop," says and interpreter in Russian.

As quickly as it started, the exercise is over.

The Sept. 22 field training exercise was the culmination of a four-day instructional period that Massachusetts Army National Guard Soldiers of the 51st Troop Command have been teaching to doctors and nurses of the Dushanbe Hospital, said Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Bruce, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the operation.

The scenario had two parts; the first part was classroom instruction involving the medics of the 51st and the students, doctors and nurses of the Dushanbe Hospital. The classes included splinting, triage, tactical combat casualty care and hemorrhage control.

Also, the medics highlighted the use of evacuation and evaluation, using the DIME methods; Delayed, immediate, minimal and expectant.

The second part was the field exercise.

"Watching them improve from one iteration to the next gives us a feeling of accomplishment, especially after the field exercise," said Army Sgt. Michael Struppa, squad leader, 1st Battalion, 182nd Medical Company, Massachusetts National Guard.

The students worked so well the students completed all of the training, including the final exercise that was required in four days instead of the original five, Struppa said, who participated in the exercise for the second time.

"It was due to the excellent instruction put on by the medics involved," Struppa said.

Those medics were Army Staff Sgt. Robert Campbell, Army Sgt. Charles Rozier both of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, and Bruce and Struppa.

Also, on their list of accomplishments was making the Tajiks aware of the standards and equipment of the U.S. Army Medics whom work with a lot of field aid, Bruce said.

The equipment that they used to teach the Tajiks was also donated to them, he said. Some of the supplies are for further instruction and even more for actual use in case of a situation such as the earthquake.

"One of the most important things is making sure they are prepared in case something like this happens," Bruce said.

Another important accomplishment for the Soldiers was the relationships they created.

"You never know when we'll be here again, maybe due to an earthquake like the scenario depicts or maybe for other reasons," Bruce said. "Either way, we'll know that working together is possible."



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