In the chaos of combat, the difference between life and death could be a matter of minutes. Oftentimes, medical facilities and trained medics are out of reach leaving service members on the field to render care.
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa regularly conducts joint and multilateral training exercises, humanitarian efforts, and crisis response with partner nations. In these domains, it can be expected that a member from one nation may have to provide emergency care for another nation’s military personnel.
Tactical Combat Casualty Care is a Department of Defense training requirement that teaches life-saving first-aid skills to keep a casualty alive until they can be seen by a medical professional.
Three U.S. Army combat medics led a team of five French Armed Forces members through the most current DOD TCCC training at Camp Lemonnier. Instructors coached the French troops through a wide range of medical competencies including recognizing shock, medicating the wounded, and treating minor and major wounds.
“The French Armed Forces are valued partners in the Horn of Africa,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jackson Spencer, Task Force Tomahawk Battalion Aid Station NCO in charge. “This kind of [medical] knowledge exchange benefits both of us.”
The French received a three-day condensed version of a second-tier TCCC designed for operators and those who could be expected to serve in a combat role. Training consisted of two days of academics followed by practical, hands-on scenarios and culminated in an exercise in which students treated and evacuated a simulated casualty. The second tier of TCCC, which is typically a five-day course, involves minimally-invasive techniques as opposed to surface-level aid featured in the first tier of the training. These techniques involve procedures like freeing trapped air from lung cavities and liquid transfusions.
“We like doing this together and can always look forward to learning new information,” said a member of the French Marine Troops learning TCCC procedures. “Our training is very similar but there are some slight differences.”
The similarities in training significantly enhance interoperability between partner nations. In a multinational environment like Djibouti, where the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa operates daily with numerous partners across the region, this could mean the difference between mission success and mission failure.
“It feels good knowing something we teach in TCCC could save a life downrange,” said Spencer. ”Education and training is half the battle for us and our partners.”