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Marine Corps Installations Pacific

3rd Medical Battalion performs tactical combat casualty care

By Cpl. Briana Turner | Marine Corps Installations Pacific | May 24, 2013

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Combat is filled with conditions that cause exhaustion and confusion, but Marines and sailors at the tip of the spear are trained to thrive under these conditions and expected to complete their mission.
Sailors with 3rd Medical Battalion participated in tactical combat casualty care training May 13-16 on Camp Foster to ensure they are prepared to handle battlefield trauma.
“TCCC is performed so whenever a corpsman deploys they possess the knowledge and understand the procedures they will need in order to help the Marines,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael D. Cox, a course instructor and hospital corpsman with the battalion, which is part of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The four-day course consisted of three days of classes and practical application and a fourth day to test the skills of the sailors.
“We go over a variety of subjects during the course,” said Cox. “We teach a variety of triage procedures, such as hemorrhaging control, tourniquet techniques, treatment of shock, and how to move casualties away from any immediate danger.”
Corpsmen must complete the course annually in order to maintain proficiency and remain prepared to respond appropriately to a vast array of contingencies across the region, according to Cox.
“Having perishable skills routinely refreshed and improved is vital to a corpsman’s role as a versatile member of the Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Petty Officer 1st Class James A. Ryan, an independent duty corpsman with the battalion. “Their job is to provide point of injury assistance as soon as possible, and TCCC helps make sure they are capable of doing that.”
The training is especially important to the sailors stationed on Okinawa because of their unique role throughout the Asia-Pacific region, according to Ryan.
“The sailors need to be prepared to provide care in any situation,” said Ryan. “Due to the amount of places we go and the presence we have in the region, it is important that we are always ready.”
During the training, sailors performed calisthenics before low-crawling to screaming simulated casualties. Those screams, coupled with the instructors’ deafening shouts, created an atmosphere that closely resembles a combat situation.
“I think the most important part of this training is realizing the seriousness of it,” said Cox. “We try to make it as real as possible to make sure they do not forget the skills they have when they are put under pressure.”
Through all of the mayhem, it is important for the corpsmen to remember the order in which to provide care, according to Ryan.
“We have a certain order that we use to quickly tend to patients,” said Ryan. “We stop any major bleeding first because if a patient loses too much blood there is little we can do to help. If there are no major wounds then we turn to the airways because tending to injuries is pointless if they cannot breathe.”
Many of the participants learned that patience is the key to remembering the skills and correct order of care, according to Seaman Cody A. Smith, a hospital corpsman with the battalion.
“Any time you are faced with an encounter that you are not sure of, it is important to take a deep breath, relax and rely on your training,” said Smith. “That is the most important thing I have learned through this training. Be patient ... we are faced with situations that would cause many people to freeze, but we are taught how to react because someone’s life could depend on it.”
Image3rd Med Bn. Image3rd Medical Battalion ImageBrianna Turner ImageCamp Foster ImageCody A. Smith ImageIII Marine Expeditionary Force ImageIII MEF ImageJames A. Ryan ImageMarine ImageMarine Corps Base Camp Butler ImageMarine Corps Installations Pacific ImageMarines ImageMCIPAC ImageMichael D. Cox ImageOkinawa Imagesailors ImageTactical Combat Casualty Care

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