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News | May 22, 2014

JTF-Bravo MEDEL teaches life saving course to servicemembers

By U.S. Army Sgt. Catherine Tharpe Joint Task Force-Bravo Medical Element

Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element instructed 23 individuals on combat life saver techniques and tactical casualty combat care from May 12-16, 2014.

This 40 hour course trains non-medical servicemembers on the ability to provide advanced first aid and life saving procedures beyond the level of self-aid. This training was developed to prevent soldiers on the battlefield from death and to extend the time the servicemember may need to reach a medical professional or medical facility for treatment.

"Many battlefield deaths could be prevented with the use of tourniquets, needle chest decompressions, and proper bandages. The combat life saver course provides non-medical personnel the knowledge to perform these techniques giving them the ability to complete the mission and save the life of the person serving next to them in a combat situation," said U.S. Army Sgt. Manuel Olivarez, lead instructor and combat medic.

The combat life saver course was taught to members of Joint Security Forces, Army Forces Battalion, 612 Air Base Squadron, and 1st Battalion 228th Aviation Regiment. The training consisted of classroom instruction, hands-on training, simulated combat lane training, and ended with an examination. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ismael Diaz, Army Forces Battalion and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steven Vanderburgh, 612 Air Base Squadron passed the examination with zero errors.

"The training gave me outside insight on combat readiness. I learned how to appropriately respond to medical emergencies and how to administer first response healthcare while waiting for medical personnel to arrive," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Destinee Bivens, airfield management operations supervisor. "My favorite part of the training included the proper way to apply a tourniquet and bandages. The portion of the course that focused on controlling a bleeding captured my interest."

The combat life saver course serves three purposes on the battlefield; it gives an immediate life saving response to an injured person, teaches servicemembers how to avoid being a second casualty while under fire, and allows for the completion of a unit's mission.

Since February 2014, the Medical Element has trained the Honduran Marines, the Honduran Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, and Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel in the combat life saver course and tactical casualty combat care, resulting in 128 certifications.

Joint Task Force-Bravo's MEDEL is composed of 64 U.S. Army personnel who have come together from across the United States and have provided medical care to more than 8,000 people in Honduras over the last 12 months. MEDEL provides preventative medical care, wellness check-ups, dental care, preventative dental care, surgical care, and physical therapy through local partnerships in Comayagua, Tegucigalpa, and through local Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) which are carried out on a weekly basis. MEDEL hosts many training opportunities with Honduras to enhance the partnership between both countries.