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Iron Fist Beats Death with Health Care

15 Feb 2010 | Sgt. Whitney N. Frasier

Navy corpsmen and Japanese doctors work together as a solid fighting team to beat death with health care during the final days of Exercise Iron Fist, a bilateral training event conducted with the Marine Corps and the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force here, Feb. 15.

After spending days learning basic corpsmen procedures, Japanese doctors took their practical application to a simulated battle field at Red Beach here where they were expected to perform life saving actions on their own soldiers, explained Lt. j.g. Brian T. Reynolds, officer in charge, Health Service Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 13, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group.

"The training is very interesting because the Japanese only see injuries in hospitals and we need more experience in the field," said 1st Lt. Kiyataka Isobe, doctor, JGSDF.

Establishing a shock trauma platoon or a small, mobile medical unit designed to support injuries during combat operations can be challenging in certain circumstances, but for injured military members it is a necessity.

"A big take away point for them was to establish trauma teams to meet patient volume," said Reynolds. "At the same time, [corpsmen] are testing the validity of our own [standard operations of procedures]."

With supervision and guidance the Japanese doctors were able to form a shock trauma platoon, become more familiar with medical tools, distribute the flow of patient care and ensure the course of actions were successful to save a patient.

"They display a greater understanding of what our healthcare capabilities are in a battlefield environment," said Reynolds, 29, Roseland, N.J.

Not only was this exercise a learning experience for Japanese health care providers, but it provided Navy corpsmen with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their job during a future deployment.

"I am learning a lot," said Seaman Rodrigo Carrillo, corpsmen, HSD, CLB-13, CLR-17, 1st MLG. "There is a very experienced staff here. Working with the Japanese doctors was pretty cool because you never know who you're going to be working with."

Injury restoration could only be the beginning of great working relationships between Marines, Sailors and the Japanese military force. With continuous practice and expanding knowledge, health care providers will save a life, one military member at a time.

"It's very beneficial learning from and working with Marines," said Isobe. "The doctors here have good experience and they share information we need to save patients, I hope to come back and train with them again."
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