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For infantry EMTs in Afghanistan, training is crucial

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KABUL, Afghanistan — A combat medic's ability to take action and save lives, in what are often chaotic scenarios, is the culmination of years of instruction that usually begins in their Advanced Individual Training, which follows basic training. The classes for medics include trauma based training such as the BCT3 - brigade combat team trauma training - prior to being sent to their unit, explained Sgt. Michael Hood, Senior Line Medic for Battle Company, 5th Battalion 20th Infantry Regiment, Task Force 1st Squadron 14th Cavalry Regiment. The BCT3 provides instruction on tactical combat casualty care for combat medics assigned to brigade combat teams. The training focuses on controlling bleeding, treating chest wounds and their associated problems, and clearing airway obstructions.

Once at their unit, a medic's training does not stop. In addition to their usual academic training, medics routinely go over their skills by means of mock casualty scenarios, which are designed to create a more realistic situation, explained Hood. Such training prepares them for their annual verification process, called Table 8, which is designed to replicate a battle setting where their medical skills would be needed.

"Table 8 is a skills verification that they do in conjunction with our EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) recertification training where you have to demonstrate all of your skills," said Spc. Michael Henchen another of Battle Company's line medics. "The training involves a team of two medics entering a darkened room where their ability to triage and treat several simulated casualties is tested in a timed exercis. The key to passing Table 8 is communication," explained Henchen.

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