Story and photo by Spc. Andrew Ingram
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — The “Charlie Med” Soldiers juggled their daily task of caring for the Soldiers of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, with a Role 2 field training exercise, where they administered medical care from a tent, at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, April 27 to May 6.
The Company C, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, medics facilitated sick call, provided X-rays and basic dental work, administered physical therapy, ran a medical lab and offered behavioral health services while conducting emergency trauma and mass casualty training from a temporary aid station comprised of tents.
“It’s a challenge to balance training with a real-world mission, but I think we are doing a pretty good job of it,” said 1st Lt. Kathleen Allen, treatment platoon leader, Company C, 4th Brigade Support Battalion.
Preparing the mobile aid station quickly could be vital during combat operations, said Allen.
“If we need to treat severe trauma or hold patients until they can receive more extensive care during large-scale operations, this is where we do it,” she said. “We may not be posted at the forefront of a battle, but we must still have the ability to pack up, move and set up again, quickly and competently.”
In addition to their daily tasks, the Company C Soldiers enhanced their medical knowledge through cross-training and simulated emergency events, culminating with a mass casualty exercise May 5.
During the training, company leaders evaluated their Soldiers’ competencies and helped them build upon their basic skills, said Staff Sgt. Robin Done, aid station noncommissioned officer in charge, Company C.
“We received a lot of new personnel shortly before we deployed, so it is important to go through this training” Done said. “Dedicating this week to improving as medics ensures that we are setting the standard for the brigade’s medical personnel.”
Done said even seasoned medics benefited from working in the close quarters of the temporary aid station.
“We have a lot of strong points; a lot of good medics with solid fundamentals, but training like this helps us become a more cohesive team,” she said.
The Soldiers set up the aid station with the intent of treating the maximum amount of patients possible, setting up designated areas for triage care, and a holding area for Soldiers in need of more intensive care.
By integrating training amid daily tasks, Company C leaders highlighted the practical applications of their lessons, said Spc. Andrew Strickland, health care specialist, Company C.
“I came up as a line medic in a cavalry battalion,” Strickland said. “Line medics usually have to work out in the open or in a field ambulance, performing basic lifesaving techniques, preserving a casualty’s life long enough to get to an aid station like this. Here, at the second level of care, I’ve learned a lot about preventative medicine and lifesaving procedures.”
Allen highlighted the importance of building unit cohesion in addition to reinforcing basic skills.
“As a medical company, we are always so spread out working on our individual pieces of the mission,” Allen said. “Exercises like this bring us together and make us a stronger team.”