Medics statewide complete intense 10-day training

by Sgt. Penni Harris
153d Public Affairs Detachment

KINGWOOD, W.Va. (February 28, 2014) -- More than 40 West Virginia National Guard medical specialists completed the 10-day Medical Specialist Sustainment and Skills Validation training at Camp Dawson today.

Medics arrived at the Training Institute February 20 to begin training. For seven days, medics participated in lecture and training that involved instruction on aid equipment, trauma skills, human anatomy and physiology, basic OBGYN and pediatric skills, tactical field training and the latest medical technology, life-saving interventions, medical procedures and medicine protocols.

Instructors created realistic medical scenarios to help medics prepare for the final day of training. Medical personnel worked in teams of two to navigate through a variety of hands-on scenarios.

Training concluded with a Tactical Combat Casualty Care exercise. Instructors created a real-life tactical field environment for the exercise. Lighting in the room was minimized, a fog machine hampered visibility, combat noise blared throughout the room, and casualties were placed around the room to create an intense environment. Medics were caught off-guard with this exercise and had to react quickly using the training from throughout the week to identify the area and the casualties, and treat, transport and evacuate casualties to a higher level of care.

“Every two years, medics are required to complete this training to maintain skill level,” said Sgt. 1st Class James T. Blevins, instructor and student at this training, and the readiness non-commissioned officer of the 77th Brigade Troop Command, located in Glen Jean, W. Va. “This course is mandatory for all medics within the state in order to maintain their status and military occupation specialty as a medic and to maintain their Emergency Medical Technician-Basic certification.”

“Each medic brings his or her own strength to this training, whether it’s an academic skill, training expertise, deployments or civilian experience,” said Sgt. Scott Underdonk, medical specialist with the 111th Combat Engineers Brigade in Eleanor. “When we are all brought together, our strengths mesh well and create a great training.”

This is the third year this training has been held at Camp Dawson. In previous years, medics trained outside of West Virginia, sending state funds outside our borders. Holding training at Camp Dawson ensures state funds stay here.