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Wisconsin National Guard Airmen hone combat lifesaving skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Paul Gorman,
  • 115th Fighter Wing

CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. - Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing Airmen engaged in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care - Combat Life Savers Course April 18 at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.

Instructors from the 115th Medical Group facilitated the exercise, educating the unit’s security forces and explosive ordnance disposal personnel on numerous TCCC techniques.

“I believe it’s imperative that our defenders and EOD personnel are well versed in an advanced level of TCCC,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Zacharias, 115th Medical Group Detachment 1 TCCC-CLS TIER-2 training manager. “They are the first downrange and require the knowledge and skills to address common battlefield injuries.”

TCCC-CLS TIER-2 is designed to provide intermediate lifesaving skills in the battlefield, including junctional hemorrhage control, nasopharyngeal airway placement, needle decompression of the chest, chest seal application, and bag valve mask usage. Students are further taught basic triage of casualties, casualty collection points, pre-evacuation, evacuation, 9-line coordination, and documentation.

“At this level of TCCC, combat lifesavers can tackle more complicated battlefield injuries and assist medical personnel with more invasive interventions, bridging the gap between the initial military responder and medical personnel,” said Zacharias.

TCCC-CLS TIER-2 students attend a 40-hour course that includes lectures, learning objectives and a 50-question exam.

“Being trained to the Tier-2 standard has given me confidence in my ability to provide critical casualty care in any situation, allowing me to focus on the multitude of other factors that can arise in a fast-paced environment,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Vandermolen, noncommissioned officer in charge of EOD operations for the wing.

“This is one of the first CLS courses in the National Guard to include both security forces and EOD,” said Capt. Jessica Green, TCCC officer in charge. “We hope this course equips our SFS and EOD personnel with the medical knowledge and skill set they need should they ever be in a position that requires it.”

The participating Airmen engaged in a full day of real-world scenarios using simulation rounds to cover the care-under-fire portion of TCCC. They treated medical mannequins and extracted, triaged and prepared for evacuation live “casualties” from the danger zone.

Lt. Col. Aaron Lunderville, 115th Security Forces Squadron commander, attended the training alongside his Airmen.

“The quality and realism of training we received in CLS was outstanding,” said Lunderville. “My defenders are now better equipped to respond to battlefield trauma with potentially lifesaving action.”

TCCC instructors evaluated participants and provided immediate feedback as they ran through scenarios multiple times.

“As the Air Force changes and adapts, it is critical that we develop multi-capable Airmen,” said Green. “This training is a prime example of squadrons collaborating to achieve the 115th Fighter Wing’s vision to provide Airmen who are trained, ready and dedicated.”