Medics with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, were pushed to the limit April 29 to May 3 during medical trauma training at Fort Hood’s Medical Simulation Training Center.

During the intense training, 14 medics of the “Warrior” Brigade had their skills validated by instructors from Bravo Company, 187th Medical Battalion, 32nd Medical Brigade, from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

The company was very demanding, said Sgt. Kathleen Caplinger, a healthcare specialist with the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

“During this training we’ve been getting down and dirty,” Caplinger said. “Our skills are being verified during realistic combat situations to ensure we treat properly while providing basic care to casualties at the point of injury.”

The training not only taught soldiers new tactics, techniques and procedures, but it also functioned as a refresher by allowing troops to get hands-on with simulated casualties while being put under intense, realistic pressure to prevent the loss of life, Caplinger said.

“In garrison you can potentially lose some of your skills and speed in executing them,” she said. “I’ve been a medic for nine years, and this training helped sharpen some of the skills I haven’t put to use in an extended time.”

Capt. Robert Levesque, officer in charge of Bravo Company’s instructor team, said their goal was to ensure all combat medics are prepared both mentally and physically to accomplish their job under any circumstance.

We travel to brigade combat teams and units to validate crucial skills that save lives on the battlefield, Levesque said. “We typically train around 240 medics in two weeks to ensure they’re fully ready to execute.”

Levesque said training medics is imperative since the slightest hiccup in treatment can ultimately be fatal.

“Anytime you’re dealing with medicine and trauma, you’re dealing with a lot of perishable skills,” Levesque said. “A lot of it’s reactive, as the correct intervention at the wrong time can kill a casualty. These realistic lanes the soldiers underwent help to build the necessary confidence medics need in order to save lives.”

As the exercise came to a close, Levesque said the groups really came together during the weeklong instruction and executed as one collective team.

“This group of soldiers did great,” Levesque said. “We had motivated students who understood the importance of this training, as well as great support from III Corps.”

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