CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- They ran with a purpose, eyes trained on three figures lying in the grass. The group splits into three, each rushing to a mannequin set up to resemble a Marine struck by an improvised explosive device. The first Marine reaches his mannequin, dropping to his knees and steadily searching the body, checking his breathing and as his hand reaches into the folds of his uniform he feels wetness and draws it back to find the palm stained a bright red.
Acting fast, he opens the uniform fully to expose the bullet wound leaking artificial blood. Reaching into his pack he retrieves gauze and bandages, plugging the wound and securing the bandage in order to stop the blood loss.
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment participated in a Combat Trauma Care Course at the Division Combat Skills Center aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 20-24, 2015.
During the week-long course, Navy corpsmen working with the DCSC went over the basics of providing immediate treatment for battlefield wounds. Mornings were spent reviewing the information in a classroom, and during the afternoon the Marines practiced on mannequins to better familiarize themselves with the steps and procedures needed to treat various wounds often seen on the battlefield.
On April 24, a test was held using mannequins equipped with a system that allows artificial blood to bleed from various wounds and recorded voices to talk back to the first responder. Petty Officer 3rd Class Terrance Little, a corpsman with the DCSC, said that using the mannequins provided a more realistic experience for the Marines.
“The mannequins add an extra stressor that is close to what the Marines will experience in the field,” said Little. “While training as a corpsman, I was always told the enemy will focus on the guy in charge and the medic first. These Marines having this training will mean there is a greater chance of them all coming back home safely.”
The test required the Marines to run the length of a softball field and reach one of the three mannequins. Under the watch of the instructors, the Marines treated the individual wounds on each of the bodies before calling in for evacuation and preparing them for transport. Common wounds they encountered were bullet wounds, amputated limbs, lower intestines protruding from the lower ribcage and damage to the face.
A corpsman accompanied each of the Marines, providing helpful instructions and making note of areas for improvement. After the simulated evacuation, the Marines waiting to take their test reset the mannequins while the three participants received critiques on where they went right and places they could improve. In order to pass, the Marines needed to display all the techniques they learned over the week in time for the evacuation.
“The students greatly performed the techniques they were taught during the course,” said Petty Officer 1st Class David Baumbach, a corpsman with the DCSC. “All the Marines passed, and the course was a complete success.”
Pfc. Brian Walsh, a mortarman with Weapons Company, 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines, said that it was a good chance for the students to practice life-saving techniques they may have to use in the future.
“It’s a better opportunity for us to come out here and actually use the techniques we’ve been trained to do,” said Walsh. “I think one of the most important aspects of being a Marine is being able to save your brother.”