Signal Soldiers brush up on casualty care

Fort Bliss

POSTED: Friday, December 13, 2013 - 11:52pm

UPDATED: Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 12:05am

One of a Soldier’s principle duties is to be prepared for war.

Many of the skills they learn, however, are perishable and easily forgotten during peacetime.

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, it would be easy to settle into a routine and relax, but the Soldiers of the “Bulldog” Brigade are fighting complacency by conducting sergeants time training. 

Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, refreshed their casualty care skills Oct. 31 near the Purple Heart Shoppette at East Fort Bliss. 

They practiced evaluating casualties and combat casualty care. They learned how to save lives as quick as possible, and under what circumstances care would be impractical. 

“The important thing is to get the casualty away from the danger area as quickly as possible,” said Sgt. Derin Duske, combat network radio section chief for 3rd BCT, 1st AD, communication section and the primary instructor for the class. “Then, you provide care,” said Duske.

“You don’t want multiple casualties,” he said. “You have to get out there, grab them, (and) then go so you don’t become a casualty yourself,” said Duske.

Later, they practiced methods of transporting injured Soldiers. They learned what methods they could use to move casualties in different situations.

“You don’t always have a litter with you,” said Duske. “Sometimes you have to use a field expedient litter or carry the person out by yourself.”

“The casualty isn’t going to be able to help,” said Duske. “You have to get them out of the danger area as quickly as possible, and people are different sizes. You have to figure out how to carry them.”

The training is a teaching opportunity for both experienced and newly arrived Soldiers. The class was not new for anyone, but repeated rehearsals build muscle memory. The Latin phrase, repetition is the mother of all learning is fitting.

“We have these classes over and over again,” said Duske. “Soldiers may not remember everything, but when you keep exposing people to it, it stays in the back of their minds.

It takes away the panic factor. You want it to be a reflex, especially in a combat situation. That’s muscle memory.” 

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