MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Marines and sailors preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan must be ready for any possible casualty contingency, because one can never truly know what will happen in a combat zone.
To prepare for the worst-case scenario, Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, built upon their first-aid skills during a first responder’s training exercise here, July 20.
The scenario began with the bang of a simulated improvised explosive device. “HELP!” cried the role-players, some of whom were actual wounded warriors with missing limbs covered in fake blood for added effect. The Marines safely approached the vehicle and provided first-aid, while calling in a medical evacuation to safely extract the simulated casualties.
The training provided hands-on experience for those who were fairly inexperienced with first-aid.
“The docs taught us how to apply tourniquets, different techniques to apply pressure to bleeding, and that we should talk to the casualty to keep him calm,” said Pfc. Alex E. Barron, Logistics Vehicle System operator, Charlie Company, CLB-1, CLR-1, 1st MLG.
Saving lives is a skill that all Marines deploying to dangerous parts of the world need to know, according to Barron. The unpredictability of war is why Marines should have some form of safety net in a worst-case scenario.
“In country, knowing your first-aid [is] very important,” said Barron, 19, from Ankeny, Iowa. “If one of your fellow Marines gets injured, you need to be there instantly to save him.”
The training helped build the Marines’ confidence in case they have to be the first responder to an IED blast.
“This morning when I woke up, I was worried about it because this is my first time doing it,” said Barron of the field first-aid experience. “Now I am a lot more confident.”
During the scenario, Navy corpsmen watched closely as the Marines provided first-aid. The corpsmen first observed, and then showed the Marines how they could improve. The skilled sailors made sure all of the Marines could assist their unit’s corpsmen in an emergency situation.
“It really helps on your first-aid skills,” said Lance Cpl. Jared W. Dulpin, Amphibious Tracked Vehicle operator, Charlie Co., CLB-1. “After learning about it in the classroom, you think you know it, but then you come out and do it. You learn a lot; even if it falls apart, you learn what needs to be done differently and what jobs need to be delegated.”
The training helped the Marines build upon skills they’ve learned in boot camp. The level of realism portrayed by the actors was something new to them. The injuries may not have been real this time, but the Marines are now more prepared for when it is.
“This is way above anything else I’ve ever done,” said Barron. “The real-life feel, the real-life amputees, the scenery of the desert, the fake explosions and the actors are really good actors. It all makes this training very realistic.”