Fort McCoy News August 22, 2014

Red Bull medics keep medical training fresh

34th Infantry Division

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Medics of Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division (2nd, 34th), enhanced their medical evacuation skills by taking to the sky during their two-week annual training session here in August.

Photo for medics article
Medics of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry, are hoisted up into a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter while conducting medical evacuation training at Fort McCoy as part of the Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise.

Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead while the infantry battalion conducted training below. The HHC medics, waiting in a small clearing with a lifelike mannequin, were ready to evacuate the "casualty" using the aircraft's medical evacuation hoist.

"It's training the Soldiers won't normally get to do unless deployed," said Staff Sgt. Lance Morrow, the battalion medical readiness noncommissioned officer for the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry. "Quite frankly, it's cool! Even I enjoy it."

Although having aviation medical support is a fun, new change in training for the young medics, Morrow says it helps them understand what happens after the evacuation call is made. It's a challenge to keep Soldiers' skills sharp, according to Morrow. He explained how medical skills are perishable, and why it's important for Soldiers to keep up on even the most basic medical skills.

"We have a great group of young medics," said Morrow. "They are all very sharp and enthusiastic."

"It was definitely a different experience," said Spc. David Nguyen, a medic with Detachment 1, HHC, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry. "We don't get that kind of training in the detachment. It's nice to come out to the field and see this."

This is Nguyen's first annual training with the National Guard, as well as his first time training with aviation assets. He graduated from initial entry training in October 20131.

"It's been a pretty good experience," Nguyen said.

Their training has been focused on basic skills, how to respond to medical emergencies based on terrain, and instruction on the ambulances, he said.

Sgts. Chris Rew and Amy Groom, both flight medics with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, located in Waterloo, Iowa, were lowered by hoist into the training area to provide additional instruction.

"It's a great opportunity for them to learn," Rew said briefly. "I like having opportunities to come help other medics understand how to work with flight medics. I used to be in their position."

Rew said he felt it was important medics on the ground know the basic procedures of medical extraction, and how there's more to being a flight medic than what is seen on the ground.

After the class, a number of Soldiers were hoisted into the helicopter with the flight medics to see the other side of the medical evacuation process. The Soldiers eventually made it back with their company, where they will finish the remainder of their annual training.

The 2nd, 34th BCT and its subordinate battalions trained at Fort McCoy as part of the Exportable Combat Training Capability live-training program which the Army National Guard has been using to train Soldiers on combat readiness since 2005.