Fort McCoy News March 11, 2016

Combat medics recertify via 72-hour MSTC course

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 20 Soldiers were recertified as combat medics after completing 72 hours of training at the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) at Fort McCoy in February.

Soldiers in the Army's 68W military occupational specialty (MOS) — health-care specialist — are required to recertify on emergency-medical technician skills every two years to maintain proficiency. According the Army's career-field definition for 68W Soldiers, their job duties include administering emergency-medical treatment to battlefield casualties, assisting with outpatient and inpatient care, force-health protection, and evacuation from a point of injury or illness.

The 72-hour recertification training covered all the basic responsibilities required by the Army.

"We teach them a review of anatomy, physiology, suicide prevention, abdominal injuries, and more," said Sgt. 1st Class Donald Russell, MSTC noncommissioned officer in charge and course coordinator. "Almost every function of the body we cover in this training."

Photo: Soldiers practice loading and unloading a simulated patient into a Blackhawk MedEvac helicopter as part of combat medic training at Fort McCoy’s Medical Simulation Training Center. The Wisconsin National Guard helicopter is assigned to Detachment 1, Company B, 248th Aviation Support Battalion of West Bend.
Soldiers practice loading and unloading a simulated patient into a
Blackhawk MedEvac helicopter as part of combat medic training at Fort
McCoy's Medical Simulation Training Center. The Wisconsin National Guard
helicopter is assigned to Detachment 1, Company B, 248th Aviation Support
Battalion of West Bend.

The training included classroom and hands-on instruction. The patient movement and care class included learning how to load and unload patients on a Blackhawk MedEvac helicopter.

"As part of their duties, they have to know how to pass off a patient to another caretaker, including to another medic on a MedEvac," Russell said. "The (students) not only have to know how to place the patient in the aircraft, but they also need to know how to summarize to the medic on the aircraft what treatment has already been completed. They also have to know basic patient loading and safety."

Medic Staff Sgt. Richard Darvial with the 724th Military Police Battalion at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the training is a good refresher.

"It's good to get back to the basic core skills of the combat medic," Darvial said. "As a combat medic, you don't do a lot of regular medical practice — you basically deal with trauma.

"This is my second time doing this training," Darvial said. "The first time I did it at Fort Dix (N.J.). Being at Fort McCoy is similar, but it's a nice facility. It has all the high-speed mannequins … and the instructors are very knowledgeable and professional. They know what they are doing and keep us on track."

Sgt. 1st Class Cynthia Charles with the Army Medical Department Professional Management Command at Forest Park, Ga., attended the Fort McCoy training for the fourth time.

"I return here for it because of the quality of the training," Charles said. "It's the kind of equipment and the amount of equipment that is here that is tremendously helpful. Also, the quality of the instructors here is (great) because they are all very knowledgeable."

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Cynthia Charles and other medics practice correct lifting techniques while placing a simulated patient into a MedEvac helicopter.
Sgt. 1st Class Cynthia Charles and other medics practice correct lifting techniques while placing a simulated patient into a MedEvac helicopter.

Medic Spc. Darren Smith with the 346th Military Police Company at Fort Riley, Kan., said the instruction on tactical combat-casualty care is key.

"You learn about care under fire and about tactical field care," Smith said. "You also learn about tactical evacuation and getting the patient out (to safety). The most-critical thing for us as medics is knowing how to get our patients out. I like this training, and I try to get as much as I can so I can stay proficient on my job."

During the last days of training, students completed skill-validation lanes to finalize their certification.

"The best part of the course is the trauma lanes," Smith said. "We are not practicing with real patients, I know, but this is the closest you are going to get. That puts a lot of perspective on what we have to do as medics."

The MSTC provides a standardized set of simulation equipment, such as mannequins, moulage, and audio/sound systems that contribute to the training.

"Everything we have here is geared toward successful training," Russell said.

The MSTC, part of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, was established in 2009 at Fort McCoy. Since then, it has provided training for tens of thousands of military personnel.

For more information about the MSTC, call 608-388-1136.