Gambler medics volunteer to save lives

Spc. Christina Garcia, a combat medic with Charlie Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, prepares a simulated casualty for intravenous fluids during "back wall" medic training on Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, Aug. 14.

Staff Sgt. Johnathan Hoover | U.S. Army

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — From time to time, everyone likes to have a little help, and the flight medics of Task Force Fighting Eagles are getting just that.

Six soldiers from Charlie Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, volunteered for training to become back wall medics to assist the flight medics during an air medical evacuation missions under the task force.

For about two weeks, “Gambler” soldiers will train alongside flight medics to prepare them for real world scenarios so they can proficiently perform duties treating casualties.

“Casualties that could be U.S., Coalition Forces and/or Afghan National Army,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Crawell, Headquarters Medical Platoon Sergeant, Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Fighting Eagles.

A back wall medic is a combat medic who has been assigned to a medical evacuation unit, said Staff Sgt. DJ Anderson, a back wall medic instructor for the general support battalion. The back wall medics will go through additional training to assist them in aviation missions.

Anderson said the back wall medic gets its name from its position in the aircraft.

The U.S. Army came up with the program to assist and provide better care for casualties, Anderson said.

It’s a great opportunity to help a great crew of people to continue what they are doing here every day, said Capt. Steve Scuba, Gambler brigade nurse.

“It’s a really important and critical mission here in Regional Command South,” he said. “I already had a little bit of skill set having flown in Iraq with patient transports.”

Spc. Marisol Landin, a Gambler combat medic, said medics are always training in different techniques and medicine always changes so they are always going to be learning something new.

“This isn’t exactly something that comes around more than once or twice in a lifetime, so I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and try it,” Landin said.

Being a flight medic is a completely different world from being a ground medic, said Sgt. Krystal Arney, a back wall medic instructor with the general support battalion.

“You lose your sense of hearing, it’s a confined working space and you have more equipment to use than you normally have on the ground. And there are different things you have to think about when trying to get the patient to the hospital,” she said.

Arney said they are trying to get the ground medics used to working in an environment where they are unable to verbally communicate with each other. Most of the time, flight medics use hand signals.

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