NEWS | June 23, 2017

29th CAB provides flight medic training to ISF Soldiers

By Capt. Stephen James U.S. Army Central

TAJI MILITARY COMPLEX, Iraq – Twenty soldiers of the Iraqi security forces completed a rigorous Flight Medic Course which was conducted by 29th Combat Aviation Brigade and coalition partners at Camp Taji, Iraq, June 8, 2017.

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Robert Stone, the 29th CAB’s flight surgeon operations noncommissioned officer, stated the course was a natural progression that built upon basic casualty care skills that had been provided previously by the United Kingdom training team at Camp Taji and included additional flight-focused instruction in altitude physiology and aircraft safety.

“The overall mission is to introduce the ISF to combat casualty care and how to safely provide care from the point of injury,” said Capt. Christopher Stephens, a flight surgeon from the 29th CAB.

As a part of the training, two Iraqi soldiers sat across from a simulated casualty in the back of an ISF UH-1H Huey II helicopter. U.S. Army Soldiers rapidly divulged a list of medical issues exhibited by the casualty.

Immediately, methodically and as a team, they applied proper care to their casualty until their instructors deemed their charge in a stable condition.

“For the ISF, this is a brand new process, they are starting to build it,” said Stone. “It is very exciting to be here in the infancy of this program.”

The training progression provided to the ISF gives the Iraqi soldiers an opportunity to expand their own medical care capabilities.

“This course will make the ISF better under pressure and mirrors what they may see in Mosul or the next battle space,” said David of the U.K. training team at Camp Taji.

At the start of the course, the instructors and facilitators were unsure what to expect, but left confident with the initial ability of their Iraqi counterparts.

“I was surprised by the ISF’s level of knowledge and impressed with the base knowledge that they had,” said Stone.

As the cumulative exercise concluded, June 8, the instructors noticed an increased capability of their ISF partners to provide higher-level care on the battlefield.

“The ISF soldiers became more confident in their abilities and more hard-charging in their medical tasks as the course progressed,” said 1st Lt. Katrina Mayes, the 29th CAB’s medical operations officer.

“This exceeded expectations,” said David. “It exposed Iraqis to conditions they wouldn’t have seen in normal training.”

Although the training was focused on improving the abilities of the ISF, the U.S. Army instructors also gained some insight of their own.

“We have a clearer understanding of how the ISF approaches medicine and medical treatment; it is different from how we look at it,” said Stone.

With the understanding comes the experience, and the reward of training others to preserve life on the battlefield.

“To say that we had the opportunity to help train the Iraqi forces has been an amazing experience,” said Stephens. “Ultimately this will save more lives of Coalition Forces downrange.”