FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers with the 1077th Medical Company – Ground Ambulance, Kansas Army National Guard, participated in Medic Sustainment 24-Hour training, an advanced course testing them on a variety of skills.
Unit members practiced in-route casualty care, administering medication, treating patients while in ambulances and transporting casualties, said 2nd Lt. Karisa Weaver, 1077th executive officer.
“Here, we have the opportunity to practice more realistic training,” Weaver said. “It’s a great opportunity to build teamwork and cohesion. A lot of times at home station, we focus on individual skills, but here at the MSTC (Medical Simulation Training Center), Soldiers really have to learn to work together and communicate.”
Weaver said the MSTC simulates a high-stress environment Soldiers would likely encounter in combat. The sophisticated mannequin “casualties” of the MSTC, which blink, breathe, have pulses and bleed, help make the training more realistic.
Sgt. Dalton Howell, Active Duty 68W medic and primary instructor with the Fort Carson MSTC, said 68Ws are required to know a variety of skills because they could serve anywhere from maternity wards to emergency rooms to battlefields. He and his team teach the medics advanced skills not covered in basic 68W courses.
“As medics, we are starting to move toward prolonged field care,” Howell said. “If our air evacuation is not in a timely fashion, we could be sitting on patients for upwards of 72 hours. This class trains medics on how to take care of a casualty for that long and offers them the skills necessary to monitor the casualty much better.”
Material covered included chest tubes, urinary catheterization, oral tracheal intubation – even how to treat military working dogs.
“We want medics to be well-rounded,” Howell said. “This training shows them things can be intense. The scenario can always change; the patient condition can always change.”
Instructors evaluated small teams on their ability to assess and treat a severely wounded casualty under stressful conditions. Howell said he hopes the Soldiers leave the course feeling more confident, which he believes is critical to success in the profession.
“This was a big eye-opener for us,” said Pfc. Chase Mignot, a medic with the 1077th. “We’re going to have a lot of things to work on. But it was a fun and engaging way to train and help us get on that road to making ourselves better medics.”
“Coming into this field, you have to be driven,” Howell said. “You have to be motivated and you have to be able to take initiative and responsibility. It’s a job where someone’s life is potentially in your hands.”