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Combat Medics Deliver the Best Medicine

May 5, 2016 By Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes

"Superior firepower is the best medicine on the battlefield," says Tim Cranton a paramedic, former combat medic, and now the lead instructor for the International Combat Lifesaver Course. This is one of the ways he gets his students thinking tactically about battlefield medicine.

Cranton is one of several instructors that run the week-long course, based on the U.S. Army's Combat Lifesaver Course, at the U.S. Army Europe Headquarters in Wiesbaden. About 70 students from six different countries graduated the course April 29 hosted jointly by the Office of the Command Surgeon for USAREUR and Germany Army's Reserve Forces Regional Command of Bavaria.

"Even the best doctors and even the best paramedics are used to tactical military medicine," said Cranston. "The aim of the class is to bring together international students and instruct them in Tactical Combat Casualty Care."

Throughout the week the students were challenged with training that ranged from care under fire, tactical field care, tactical evacuation care, and prolonged field care. They were able to train with advanced equipment like a vehicle roll-over simulator, practice evacuations using a Blackhawk helicopter, and use live military works dogs.

This course also introduced a new trainer, HERO, a full-body K9 Medical Trainer.

A German soldier checks the pulse of HERO, a full-body K-9 Medical Trainer.

"It is the best simulator I have ever seen. On this trainer they can actually feel a pulse, I don't have to describe it anymore. They can stop bleeding, and it measures the pressure of their pressure wrap. They can intubate and it is realistic at the back of the dog's throat," said U.S. Army Maj. Jodi Sangster, a veterinary clinical specialist with the 64th Medical Det., (Veterinary Service Support).

U.S. Army Maj. Jodi Sangster, a veterinary clinical specialist with the 64th Medical Det., (Veterinary Service Support) inspects HERO, a full-body K-9 Medical Trainer.

"I've had the several students tell me that they never thought they could provide first aid to a dog, but now they feel this is something they can do," said Sangster as she motioned to two Swiss soldiers performing first aid on Hero while instructors screamed commands at them.

This was a part of the students' final testing in order to graduate the class. The shrieking pleas of "victims" clashed against the bellows of the instructors in several languages as the soldiers scrambled to tend to the simulated patients.

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