FORT LEE, Va. –
Combat medic specialists (68W) from various Army Reserve and National Guard units reported to the Tass Training Center (TTC) Lee for the 80th Training Command’s 94th Training Division’s 68W recertification training Feb. 13-26, 2023.
Medics are required to recertify every two years, or they risk no longer being military occupational specialty (MOS) qualified. Not every medic is on the same two-year cycle, but everyone must meet the recertification deadline of March 31.
For Spc. Long Thai from the 224th Special Troops Battalion (STB) in Long Beach, California, this was his first time attending a recertification training.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Thai. “The instructors are very knowledgeable, and you get hands on training that you don’t get during battle assembly or annual training.”
During the recertification training, Soldiers use Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable (TC3X) Mannequins for hands on training of the skills they reviewed in the classroom. Some unique features of these state-of-the-art mannequins include life-like skin, breathing capabilities, and even realistic simulated blood in veins. Additionally, each mannequin had a missing limb because research showed that that injury occurred most often in a combat environment.
Spc. Thai said having the TC3X mannequins made the training more realistic, since students did not have to simulate inserting a trach or applying a tourniquet, but were instead able to physically practice those skills, making the training more rewarding.
Only privates (E-1s) through sergeants first class (E-7s) are required to recertify, but 1st Sgt. Matthew Caiazzo from the 456th Area Support Medical Company in Somersworth New Hampshire. made sure he attended the training. “I feel it is important for me to be here” said Caiazzo. “In order for me to be an effective leader, I need to know what my Soldiers know.”
“The medical field is forever changing, Caiazzo added, “so I come to these trainings to stay up to date with the newest techniques, and to know what my Soldiers are learning at the schoolhouse.”
Caiazzo said he appreciates how knowledgeable the instructors were, and how they taught from the things they’ve learned from their experience as well as from the textbooks.
“I just love teaching,” said Sgt. Gerald Gipson, one of the course instructors. Gipson has been an instructor for 18 months, and said he became an instructor because he was looking for something more fulfilling after being an EMT and a County Sheriff.
“As an instructor, you get to make it count,” Gipson said. “You get to take all of your experience and the things you’ve learned in the field or on the job and pour that into students that want to know more.”