Airmen encounter, respond in live combat casualty training

  • Published
  • By Samuel King Jr.

A small group of six 96th Medical Group Airmen, weapons in hand, slowly made their way through an abandoned neighborhood.  They spot someone injured lying in the street.  Their medic training takes over and they sprint to help.  As they reach the casualty, they are peppered with gun fire from seemingly all directions.  What does the team do now?

That moment was a key to the four-day Tactical Combat Casualty Care training 96th MDG Airmen completed Nov. 14-17.  More than 24 non-medical Airmen took on the training that culminated in an adrenaline-fueled fire fight, casualty-care and extraction scenario that pushed the Airmen to their limits. 

The goal of the TCCC Course, a three-year training requirement for medical personnel, is to teach life-saving techniques for providing the best trauma care on the battlefield.

“We must make sure we take care of our warfighters downrange. The battlefield is changing, and we may have to hold on to our patients in the field longer, so we’ve got to be able to provide that care,” said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Shockey, 96th MDG education and training flight commander.

To add more reality, the Airmen were tagged with paintballs to simulate live-fire, as gunfire and explosion sounds boomed from all around.  They also encountered human and high-fidelity manikins as the simulated injured victims during the exercise. The manikins talk, simulate breathing, the pupils dilate, squirt blood, and even scream.

The TCCC Course has four levels of training based on the various job specialties within a unit from all-service member to combat paramedic/provider.  The Nov. 14-17 course was Tier 2, Combat Lifesaver. 

Many of the Airmen who completed the course were non-medical Airmen, but were assigned to the 96th MDG, including a few in leadership roles.  The group’s commander, deputy commander and senior enlisted advisor were among the Airmen taking fire and applying tourniquets. 

“We worked side-by-side as team members to learn and perform the skills necessary to save lives, said Col. Greg Coleman, 96th MDG commander. “Our leadership roles were secondary to our responsibility to be team members because teamwork allowed us to complete the training successfully.”

For Chief Master Sgt. Marcus Washington, he said he relished the opportunity to get his hands dirty with his Airmen.

The TCCC training was a rare treat as I had the ability to step back and let my Airmen lead me, and they were truly up to the task, said Washington.   “As we continuously stomp our foot imparting the importance of "ready medics", this training, from the cadre to the students, gives me a good feeling about the future of our force.”