Task Force Sparta holds medical training with Kenyan Defense Forces
“FREEZE! FREEZE! FREEZE!” a soldier shouts after a simulated blast. He quickly uses a mine detector to scan for additional mock explosives in his path to an injured comrade, and begins simulating first aid.
This was one scenario used by U.S Navy Sailors from Task Force Sparta, currently assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, as they taught tactical combat medical training to approximately 53 Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) soldiers and officers, Sept. 13-15, at a Kenyan training center.
“We are providing care under fire training for the combat engineers so they have a little bit more base knowledge of medicine while in a combat zone,” said U.S. Navy Hospitalman 1st Class Aaron Christensen, a dive independent duty corpsman. “And also to help them provide better care to their fellow soldiers, and (if need be) the local population [in] the areas they are deployed to.”
The soldiers learned basic CPR, first aid, buddy carries, how to stop massive bleeding, and how to use tourniquets, splints and compression bandages during the three-day class.
“The doctor, (Christensen), taught us something that we didn’t have knowledge of before, and we are very much grateful. From the start to this point we are far [more knowledgeable] than where we were in the beginning,” said KDF Lance Cpl. Mohamed, combat engineer. “How to control massive bleeding is what I am most interested in, because without blood you are nobody. So the first thing you have to do for a casualty who gets hurt is stop the bleeding.”
The KDF soldiers had some first aid knowledge before the training, but that knowledge was approximately 10 years old. The Task Force Sparta team was able to teach the soldiers more up-to-date medical techniques to better prepare them to provide emergency care, said Christensen.
The last portion of the medical course combined the counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) knowledge they gained in the first week with their new medical knowledge by practicing patrolling a road and responding to a simulated IED casualty.
The medical training was one part of Deliberate Kindle 2016, a four-week Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) course designed to prepare the KDF soldiers for future deployments with the African Union Mission in Somalia. This training is critical for preparing soldiers deploying to Somalia, as al-Shabaab routinely deploys improvised explosive devices (IEDs), killing Somali National Security Forces and AMISOM soldiers, as well as innocent civilians.
The HMA course is scheduled to conclude Sept. 30, 2016. The KDF will have gained additional knowledge in countering IEDs, and medical knowledge to help them provide basic medical care for their future deployments in AMISOM.