Lackland medics enhance warfighter training at Fort Bliss
By Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain , 149th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 27, 2011
FORT BLISS, Texas -- Training activities at the Texas Air National Guard's 204th Security Forces Squadron, at Fort Bliss, Texas, showcase a collaborative effort between Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve medical personnel to accomplish a mission.
Aerospace medical technicians Staff Sgt. Robert Turner, with the Air Force Reserve's 433rd Airlift Wing, and Senior Airman Luz Rivera, a member of the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing, both located at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, have joined a half dozen other medics assigned to the Security Forces Regional Training Center (RTC).
In addition to the inherent risks of combat readiness training, students at the 204th endure the realities of the West Texas and New Mexico climate and terrain at Fort Bliss.
There is always the potential danger for heat-induced dehydration, as well as lacerations from large nail-like thorns on mesquite bushes and the effects from being attacked by aggressive black ants that permeate the landscape.
The RTC requires at least one medic to be on each range involving training maneuvers.
While most interventions are routine, 204th medics are "prepared to handle all field medicine, minus surgeries," Sergeant Turner said. "Our vehicles are just like any metro ambulance, and include IV's, splinting and bandaging to handle anything that happens in the field normally."
Additionally, 204th medics help prepare the soon-to-be deployed troops to provide basic tactical combat casualty care through a multi-day Combat Lifesaver Class (CLS).
Senior Master Sgt. John Ramirez, an aerospace medical technician that serves in an advisory role at the 204th, said the organization worked with the instructor cadre at the 204th and Army medics at Fort Bliss to develop the four-day CLS course curriculum.
"Crawl, Walk, Run" is how the training model is described. By the end of the fourth day, students are proficient in handling a large variety of potential injuries they may encounter in a real-world situation.
"We have a really good team [of medics], and everyone brings unique skills to the table," Sergeant Ramirez said. "We're able to train each other [as we train the students]."
This training has been proven effective on the battlefield.
"An Airman recently lost his leg in battle, but the quick response of some Security Forces trained at the 204th were able to quickly stabilize the injury and save his life," Sergeant Turner said.
After the arriving at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he was further treated, the Airman was said to have requested follow-on assignment to Fort Bliss "showing how important CLS training is" and that "he wants to be proof that it works and saves lives."
"This is about making sure people come home," said Sergeant Turner.