LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps, graduated its first group of combat medics during a ceremony July 21 on Forward Operating Base Gamberi.

“In the past, coalition forces provided the capabilities these graduates and their fellow medics are bringing to the 201st Corps. Strategically this is important because through medics and expanding the training, the (Afghan army), as a whole, inch closer to a self sustaining military,” said Lt. Col. Michael Acord, the deputy commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and Task Force Patriot.

Acord added that while there is still work to do, the Afghan army is moving toward an ultimate state of self reliance. This graduation brings the 201st Corps medical strength to just below the 50 percent mark.

The 201st Corps’ first graduating class finished with 101 students.

During the training students learned how to stop patient bleeding, administer an intravenous line on a patient, and other measures to save their fellow soldiers’ lives on the battlefield.

Saving lives is only one way the Afghan army is taking the lead.

“The (Afghan army) set it up themselves, it’s totally (Afghan army) led. They did it all by themselves,” said Capt. Esmeralda Linan, medical sustainment adviser with Charlie Company, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. Linan was excited to have seen the entire process unfold, from the planning stages to the culminating graduation before leaving Afghanistan.

“I feel very confident in the (Afghan army’s) ability to sustain this training and supply their force with trained medics even after coalition forces leave,” Linan said.

In the next cycle of medical training, he said the 201st Corps will have students from the Afghan National Police, the Afghan Uniformed Police and the Afghan Border Police.

Next cycle

“That’s really monumental, the crossing over of the (army) and (police), for medical in the 201st they do that very well they use each other’s assets, they have a good relationship and work together,” Linan said. “Inviting them to join their combat medic course just makes that relationship that much stronger.”

These combat medic graduates see the benefit to getting this training and gaining skills that will save their fellow soldier’s lives.

They also understand the overall benefit to the Afghan army’s development.

“If this type of program continues, the (Afghan army) will get lots of medics and it will help a lot of soldiers and the (Afghan army) as a whole will benefit greatly from it,” said Afghan army Sgt. Qudratullah, a combat medic in the 201st Corps. Even though he was selected by his command for the training, Qudratullah said he always had an interest in medicine.

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