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NEWS | July 25, 2019

Medical units battle-tested in preparation to save lives abroad

By Staff Sgt. Eric W. Jones Army Reserve Medical Command

As the helicopters begin landing nearby and ambulances wheel up to the the combat support hospital triage area, personnel behind the scenes supporting the Global Medic exercise ensure everything is set to fully test the capabilities of the units participating in the medical portion of Combat Support Training Exercise 78-19-02 held at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, June 8-28, 2019.

Army Reserve Medical Command’s Medical Readiness and Training Command (MRTC) is responsible for delivering the relevant and realistic collective training for Global Medic, which provides training to Joint, Multi-National, and Reserve Component Forces through the Army Reserve’s Combat Support Training Program. 

Nearly 2,000 personnel participated in Global Medic 2019 at Fort Hunter Liggett as medical support, Observer Coach / Trainers, support staff or as part of the training audience, which included Army Reserve, Air Force and Canadian forces. CSTX 78-19-02 is structured to ensure America’s Army Reserve units and Soldiers are trained and ready to deploy on short-notice and bring capable, combat-ready support to the Army and Joint partners anywhere in the world. 

Medical inject scenarios were distributed throughout the exercise, both day and night, to maintain the realistic environment. Scenarios could be as minor as a sprained ankle or as significant as a multi-limb amputee. 

Sgt.1st.Class Grady Edenfield, an Observer Coach/Trainer with MRTC’s 2nd Medical Training Brigade, describes one of the scenario’s units might encounter during their training. 

“This Soldier was working on top of a tool connex and fell from about 15 feet in the air is discovered by a fellow Soldier, and an ambulance called.

“The purpose of the exercise is to see how the ambulance system works to see how the intermediate care ward, and the entire hospital will take care of this patient,” explains Edenfield.

During Global Medic, OC/Ts like Edenfield are checking how each unit is tracking their patients, how communications are flowing throughout the process and how an entire hospital will take care of a patient from their arrival through departure. If the medical staff does not approporiately care for their patient, Edenfield said the situation gets more complicated.

“We will let this patient stay here for a while after this inject, and then we will introduce another inject where the patient will have complications, and then we will watch the medical team’s progress from that point to see what they are going to do next,” said Edenfield.

On June 19th, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to 807th Medical Command’s (Deployment Support) 396th Combat Support Hospital, based out of Vancouver, Washington, felt the pressure of those complications as they received a steady stream of patients, fully testing their individual and team communication skills and responses while helping them to refine processes that help save lives on the battlefield. 

“MRTC’s role is to train these medical units and their Soldiers to anticipate all the scenarios that might come to them in battle. We use scenarios from incidents that have happened in the past, and present the hospital personnel with things that would likely happen for the patient, but this is also driven by their commanders,” Edenfield said.
Every commander who brings their troops to train at a Global Medic exercise provides input to MRTC on what he or she wants their unit to be trained on; the scenarios the commander chooses will push the unit to its highest level and ensure their personnel are prepared to deploy.
Spc. Robert Manwell, a combat medic assigned to the 396th CSH, says the training provides accountability and helps the team make better decisions when faced with these scenarios in real life.

“This is the first time I have received this type of training, and I think it is really good that there are a lot of different types of scenarios. It keeps us on our feet, helps us make sound decisions, and quick decisions.

“The OC/T’s hold us accountable for our treatments, so if our interventions aren’t correct? The patient actually gets worse based on what we do. I find it to be really realistic. I don’t work as an EMT as a civilian, so this training allows me to sharpen my skills,” Manwell said.

The large-scale exercise contains a diverse training audience including Joint, Multi-Component and Multi-National personnel. This year, a contingent of Canadian military personnel worked alongside the 396th CSH. Medical assistant, Cpl. Chi Middleton, with Canadian Armed Forces Reserve’s 15th Field Ambulance Company, from Edmonton Alberta, said she learned a lot from the experience.

“This is my first time training with the U.S. military, and this training helps me understand how the U.S. military trains compared to how Canadians train. 

“Here there is a lot of sectionalized tents and machinery, but back home we would never see an x-ray or an Operating room in the field. With this training, I will go back home with more confidence and I will be more competent. I like seeing how all the different kinds of training comes together,” said Middleton.