CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – When Marines are wounded or critically injured on the battlefield, Navy corpsmen have the responsibility of treating the individual to the best of their abilities. Their dedication to duty could make the difference between life and death for those Marines
Marines and sailors with 1st Medical Battalion conducted lifesaving pre-deployment training during a field training exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 13, 2013.
During the field training exercise, corpsmen with Shock Trauma Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Medical Bn., 1st Marine Logistics Group, practiced multiple hands-on lifesaving techniques for their upcoming deployment. Techniques such as suturing and liter bearing were stressed during the exercise.
“We set up the Shock Trauma Platoon work area, demonstrated familiarization techniques for suturing, suture or stitching and equipment classes as well as liter bearing training,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Donna Rigby, an independent duty corpsman with STP, Alpha Co., 1st Medical Bn., 1st MLG. “You can never do enough training.”
A Shock Trauma Platoon operates in a mobile emergency room that can be quickly set up to provide medical care to critically injured patients within an hour.
The exercise’s lifesaving skills are a major benefit on the battlefield, and the corpsmen who are properly trained in those skills significantly reduce the number of battlefield deaths.
“This field op is a great team building exercise where everybody gets to learn everyone’s role proficiently,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jephray Prejusa, a field medical technician with STP. “We need to be able to communicate with each other without falling into chaos during a highly stressful environment.”
STP isn’t like an everyday hospital. Corpsmen have to be able to use what equipment they have quickly and efficiently in order to save someone’s life, added Prejusa, a native of Dallas.
"We’re doing this training so that we can identify any deficiencies that we have before we deploy,” said Rigby. “That’s why pre-deployment training is so important; we have to make sure we’re competent in our skill sets and capabilities.”
For the corpsmen with the STP, it’s not a job; it’s a way of life.
"I’ve always wanted to help people, provide care and know that [I’ve] made a difference in someone’s life,” said Rigby, a native of Los Angeles. “Training is always a constant learning experience. If those skill sets I teach [the corpsmen] get committed to memory by the individuals, they could potentially save lives.”
The true trial of the training will come when it is applied in combat on the battlefield. The team will continue to do its best to prepare the platoon until that time comes.
“The biggest test is when you’re doing it on a live patient,” said Prejusa. “That’s the only test you can really have.”