War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Afghanistan: Ohio Guard members turn injury into training opportunity


By Army National Guard Spc. James Simpson
37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

KUNDUZ PROVINCE, Afghanistan  – Soldiers of 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and members of the Afghan National Police were conducting a training patrol in the Gor Teppa area March 23, 2012, when they came across an injured child.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Young, the platoon sergeant, and Army Staff Sgt. Charles Cox, a squad leader, were the first to notice the child’s arm wrapped in cardboard. The platoon medic, Army Pvt. Eric Baldwin, recognized the situation as an opportunity to spread goodwill and conduct an impromptu class on splinting.

The child stated, through the platoon’s language assistant, that he injured his arm while wrestling.

Using a structural aluminum malleable splint, Baldwin made a more stable platform for the child’s arm. The SAM splint is a compact, lightweight, highly-versatile device designed for immobilizing bone and soft tissue injuries in emergency settings. It consists of a layer of .016 inches (0.41 mm) strips of soft aluminum, with a polyethylene closed-cell foam coating.

Baldwin also showed the boy and his parents how to properly form the splint and to make a better sling to keep the arm secure.

The area being patrolled is relatively underdeveloped and lacks many modern medical treatment facilities. Through partnering with Afghan forces, coalition forces are constantly working to fill the gap between the needs of the people and the existing infrastructure in Afghanistan.

Company A hopes to gain the trust of the people they interact with through these goodwill gestures while conducting their normal duties.

The 37th IBCT is deployed to northern Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force in an effort to build Afghanistan National Police capacity through security force assistance.

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