MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.— More than 50 Air Force Reserve medics from the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron here will practice caring for human and mannequin patients while taking mock fire from .50 caliber rifles and other heavy artillery Monday at 1 p.m. in an exercise dubbed “Care Under Fire.”
Training for tactical combat casualty care is a unique addition to this year’s annual training requirements for the 446th ASTS Airmen and is part of a four-day field training mass casualty exercise. In contrast to a hospital Emergency Department setting where the patient is the mission, on the battlefield, care of casualties sustained is only part of the mission.
Medical personnel must quickly move casualties to safety while being attacked by aggressors and possibly engage in a firefight on the battlefield.
“We take them out of their elements and watch them come together as a team without having a real-world mass casualty. That way, we can perform as a team rather than as individuals.” Col. Sam Barringer, 446th ASTS commander. “What works about this training is the adaptability and resiliency it promotes.”
TCCC is designed typically for military medics, corpsmen, and pararescuemen who are preparing to deploy in support of combat operations. Casualty care in the tactical setting will depend on the situation, the injuries sustained, the knowledge and skills of the first responder, and the medical equipment at hand.
This combat training environment tests the skills of highly equipped and capable reserve medics, many of whom also serve as first responders in a civilian capacity.