|Story & photos by Spc. Jacqueline Slaughter, 200th
Military Police Command
FORT MCCOY, Wis. — As the sounds of gunfire and mortar round explosions
filled the air, a small group of Reserve Soldiers rushed into a darkened
room, only to be exposed to bright, strobe-like flashes that nearly
Casualties with multiple injuries were scattered throughout the room as
a medic knelt beside a Soldier, who was simulating a victim with
amputated legs and a gash on his forehead.
Spc. Stevi Jordan, a medic assigned to the 342nd Military Police
Company in Columbus, Ohio, practices applying a field bandage on
Sgt. Michael McGee, a medic with the 342nd, at the Medical
Simulation Training Center at Fort McCoy. Jordan and McGee
attended a 72-hour course that allowed them to maintain their
military occupational specialty requirements.
The warfighters were participating in a situational training event at
the Army Combat Medic Sustainment Course at the Medical Simulation
Training Center (MSTC) here.
The noise of pain and confusion added to the mixture of an already
chaotic environment for the medics assigned to the 200th Military Police
Command (MPCOM), which is headquartered at Fort Meade, Md.
After the medics placed tourniquets and bandages on the injured, lights
in the room flickered on to reveal instructors with notepads standing in
One of the medics going through the course, Spc. Alec Wimberly, said
having seasoned combat medic instructors was important to the success of
the intense course.
“The cadre here are great,” said Wimberly, a native of Mesa, Ariz., who
is assigned to the 56th Military Police Company. “They are well-trained
in their area and scope. A bunch of them have been deployed, so they
know what they are talking about.”
Medics Spc. Macrina Juarez of the 724th Military Police
Battalion in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Spc. Bryan Becker, of
the 354th Military Police Company in St. Louis practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The facility, which opened in 2009, is one of two Army Reserve
training centers that provide medical simulation equipment to train
Soldiers and medics in battlefield medicine.
The 10-day training event is critical to ensuring Army Reserve medics
maintain their life-saving skill sets.
As the Army Reserve has been supporting combat operations for more than
a decade, many of the medics have several mobilizations under their belt
and bring their own unique experiences to the classroom, said Master
Sgt. Bruce Kaufman, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the MSTC.
Kaufman said each student was challenged to not only meet requirements
but go beyond those requirements. One of those challenges was to give an
intravenous stick to another Soldier in a room with low light (as it
could be in combat).
“If you think every intravenous stick is going to be under bright white
light, you are so wrong,” said Ray Layne, a technical instructor and
course developer at the MSTC.
During the intravenous sticks and other hands-on training exercises,
instructors worked one-on-one with each student to ensure they
understood what they were doing right and wrong.
Many of the Reserve Soldiers who attend courses at the MSTC are part of
Kaufman said it is important students learn the correct way to perform
“If it’s going to reinforce bad training, we will stop you,” said Layne.
“We have a motto here, ‘we’ll let you flail, but we won’t let you fail.’
In other words when we see students incorrectly performing their medical
skills, we’ll stop them and make on-the-spot corrections so they will
not develop wrong muscle memory.”
The final test of the course included the Emergency Care Simulator room,
which contains mannequins which bleed, breathe and kick their legs to
imitate lifelike battlefield scenarios.
Kaufman, an Army medic since 1972 (except for a six-year break in
service), said putting Soldiers in a difficult environment is essential
to testing their battlefield skills.
“It’s one thing if a student can practice their skills inside the
classroom, but what matters the most is whether they can utilize these
skills when there is chaos all around,” he said.
At the end of the course, Soldiers walked way with refreshed and new
knowledge of medical skills and equipment.
“When they walk out of here, they have their battlefield skills
sustained, and they are prepared for trauma management,” said Kaufman.
“Almost everybody walks away from here much more confident than when
they came in here.”
Maj. Gen. Sanford Holman, commanding general for the 200th MPCOM, said
it is his responsibility to ensure all of the Soldiers assigned to the
command are trained, equipped and ready to mobilize in support of all
types of operations.
“Sure, we are a military police command, but we have hundreds of
low-density skill sets such as medics, engineers and public affairs
specialists that also must maintain their proficiency,” Holman said. “My
staff is dedicated to all our formations and will work hard to ensure we
have the most technically and tactically proficient Soldiers in the Army