MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
U.S. Navy sailors with Field Medical Training Battalion - West conducted patient assessment drills at the FMTB training site on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 19.
Leading up to these drills ,the sailors went through weeks of training, piecing together the skills needed to execute the patient assessment drills properly and efficiently.
“The mission here at Field Medical Training Battalion - West is to prepare corpsmen that are going to be with the Fleet Marine Force,” said U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Reese Ritter, the command master chief of FMTB-W. “We make sure that they are ready to deploy, and they have the basic skills to go from here to a Marine unit.”
The Field Medical Service Technician course is an eight-week course where students learn both in the classroom and in the field. While classroom learning is important, FMTB puts an emphasis on field training, such as Tactical Casualty Combat Care. While learning the basic skills of a corpsman the sailors also spend time learning Marine Corps organization, procedures, and also get the chance to fire an M16A4 service rifle.
“Some of the basic things they have learned up to this point is how to identify a hemorrhage or a massive bleed and treat it,” said Petty Officer Second Class Courtney Dion, an instructor with FMTB-W. “They learned how to maintain an airway so a patient can breathe, how to stabilize a respiratory system and the circulatory system, everything you would need to know in order to save a life.”
The casualty assessment portion of the course is a culminating event for the sailors to graduate. There are many phases to TCCC, one being care under fire. Care under fire is when both the corpsman and the casualty are still under hostile fire. The goal of care under fire is for the corpsman to return fire and take cover, direct and expect the casualty to remain engaged as a combatant, and direct the casualty to move to cover and apply self aid. The next phase of TCCC is tactical field care.
“Our soul purpose and only job is to be saving lives,” said Dion. “And that's what they learn in the basics of this course.”
Tactical field care is care given once the corpsman and the casualty are no longer under hostile fire. The goal in this phase is to tend to the most serious wounds and then evacuate. Tactical evacuation is the last of the phases. The tactical evacuation is when the casualty is transported to a higher level of care.
“There is nothing that gives me more pride than to be part of the FMF,” said Dion. “Helping those Marines and FMF corpsmen betters me as a person everyday. I am very lucky to be a potential influence for these students.”