By Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr.
Special to American Forces Press Service
Aug. 28, 2009 - Soldiers of 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment's Task Force "Saber" and Iraqi security forces worked together to provide advanced medical training to Iraqi forces in southern Iraq's Maysan province. Members of the Majaar al Kabir District Police and 1st Battalion, 41st Iraqi Army Brigade, participated in combat lifesaver training led by task force medics, military police and border transition team members.
"This training will save lives -- both Iraqi and quite possibly U.S.," said Army 1st Lt. Keith Chiro, a platoon leader assigned to 2nd Platoon, 57th Military Police Company.
The hands-on focus of the training helped to bridge the language barrier, Chiro said, resulting in a better understanding of medical techniques.
The combat lifesaver course consisted of lectures and practical exercises that focused on various techniques practiced by U.S. forces, including casualty evaluation, tourniquet application, airway clearing, blunt trauma treatment, splinting, hot and cold weather injury recognition and treatment, intravenous management and shock treatment.
For some students, IV needle application caused the most anxiety. For most, this was their first experience applying and receiving an IV. Detailed instructions and demonstrations built confidence and trust, with numerous Saber medics serving as patients.
Iraqi trainees demonstrated their medical proficiency in a culminating exercise overseen by the deputy commander of the Majaar al Kabir police and the commander of 1st Battalion, 41st Brigade.
"We couldn't have asked for a better group to work with," said Army Spc. Allen Steele, a medic assigned to 2nd Platoon, 57th Military Police Company. "In-depth questions proved how interested they were in learning about more advanced medical training."
While the class has ended, officials said they plan to continue the partnership.
"This training was only the beginning of our partnership," Steele said. The squadron's next step is to plan "train the trainer" classes.
Advise-and-assist partnerships like these pave the way for Iraqi security force success, officials said. Graduates now will be able to treat anything from routine to life-threatening medical conditions with confidence, benefiting the people of Maysan province.
(Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr. serves with the 1st Armored Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.)