NEWS | Feb. 26, 2018

Artillery Soldiers practice maneuver, medical tasks

By Sgt. David Nye U.S. Army Central

Soldiers shot their way past opposing forces role players during a training mission that culminated with the training platoon calling in a 9-line and medically treating five Soldiers with simulated injuries before evacuating them by helicopter at Gerber Training Area, Udairi Range Complex, Kuwait, Feb. 26, 2018.

The training included opposing forces role players, also known as OPFOR, firing simunition rounds and triggering an improvised explosive device simulator at the training unit’s Humvees before an actual UH-60 Black Hawk air ambulance carried out the simulated wounded. Soldiers said that the details added elements of realism that enhanced the training experience.

“I think it helps for all of us, to show our own weaknesses,” said Sgt. Natasia White, a truck driver in Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 145th Field Artillery Regiment, Utah National Guard. “I had one guy immediately start swearing, start cursing, even though it was just pretend. But now he can look back at that and see, ‘I need to be able to stay calm. I need to be able to keep my head on my shoulders.’ It also showed who’s really strong on the team, and who’s been paying attention and who’s been listening.”

White, who was one of the simulated casualties, was also able to tell which of her troops she could most immediately count on in future training events or actual operations to lead the element if she is hurt or killed.

“And so, now, the next scenario we have where I know that I will be a casualty, I know who I can put in charge, because he stayed calm, he knew what to do,” said White. “You know, he’s the guy who put the tourniquet on my leg; he got up in the gunner’s hatch; he started shooting back. He ran up, he grabbed the litter right away. He was just on top of it.”

For Spc. Hyrum Parry, a medic who is also of Delta Battery, the training let him asses the combat lifesavers in the unit and flex his own skills treating patients, tasks that are easier when humans role play as the casualties.

“There’s a lot more to it,” he said. “They’re real life patients. They will react, hopefully, like they should react, making the training more realistic, giving me the opportunity to calm myself down and focus on what needs to be focused on in order for me to treat my casualty to the best of my ability, to stabilize them and send them to higher care.”

The combat lifesaver-trained personnel enhanced Parry’s ability to provide care for five patients at once.

“Every soldier who is CLS, combat lifesaver certified, they in turn become a helping hand for the medic,” he said. “The medic’s going to be busy with the ones that require the most care, whereas CLS can talk to patients and they can open an airway if needs be. They can patch different wounds. They’re trained on managing airways, managing their breathing, managing the circulation as far as the cuts and bruises. So, they have a fair amount of training when it comes to it. All soldiers should have a good CLS base training in order to aid the medic.”