Columbus AFB medical Airmen ensure readiness through TCCC

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
The 14th Medical Group held the Wing’s first on-site Tactical Combat Casualty Care All Combatants course July 16, 2020, at the Kortiz Clinic, training 10 medics from Columbus Air Force Base.

Known as the TCCC, the course provides medics with life-saving skills in addition to tactical field care, tactical evacuation care and essential need-to-know capabilities to save lives while undergoing hostile combat situations.

“This is a readiness focus training aimed at treating those preventable battlefield deaths when deployed,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Kelly, 14th MDG chief nurse and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) TCCC Instructor. “We are using a tiered approach to get all of the 14th Medical Group staff trained according to the TCCC guidelines.”

With readiness being the number one priority of Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg’s, U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, and a priority across the DoD, Columbus AFB 14th MDG is making sure the Airmen are getting the proper tactical medical training. Training will take place on Columbus AFB on designated training days at the MDG and a refresher training will be held at a minimum of every 24 months with the focus of having the medics ready to deploy.

During the exercise, medics practiced treatment on augmented mannequins as well as volunteers with replicated battle wounds in order to simulate the look, feel and smell of severe traumatic injuries on a live human.

“I feel like I gained knowledge on how to stay calm in a real world situation,” said Senior Airman Robert Patterson, 14th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron mental health technician. “With all the screaming, gunshot noises and the stress of needing to get the wounded to safety, the training felt very real.”

Patterson mentioned before the teams went out on the field for their simulated combat training they were in the classroom practicing skills including wound packing, tourniquet application, and learning how to treat the most life-threatening injury first before the wounded is moved to safety.

Assessing which injury needs to be treated immediately, which wounds are more important, and the continuation of care after moving the individual to safety are all skills Patterson said the medics have been prepared for.

The TCCC also teaches first-responders treatment of the most preventable causes of death on the battlefield, such as controlling a hemorrhage, treating penetrating chest wounds, airway protection and tourniquet application.

“It is not just in a deployed setting, this training is useful for everyday work situations that may come up,” Patterson said. “When things happen that you are not prepared for arise the demand for communication skills, situational awareness, and the abilities you have honed throughout your training really come into play.”

According to the NAEMT, almost 90% of American service members who die from combat wounds die before arriving at a medical treatment facility. While the number is staggering, it illustrates the vital importance of first responders (medics, nurses, and other medical practitioners) to be combat ready medics for the battlefield.

With the training of the TCCC, combat medics will have improved hands-on training to rapidly treat those preventable causes of death and keep these casualties alive long enough to reach higher levels of care.