Wisconsin Airmen hone combat lifesaving skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Paul Gorman
  • 115th Fighter Wing

Airmen assigned to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing engaged in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care - Combat Life Savers Course (TCCC-CLS TIER-2) April 18 at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.

115th Medical Group instructors facilitated the exercise, educating the unit’s security forces and explosive ordnance disposal personnel on numerous TCCC techniques.

“I believe it’s imperative that our defenders and EOD personnel are well versed in an advanced level of TCCC,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Zacharias, 115th Medical Group Detachment 1 TCCC-CLS TIER-2 training manager. “They are the first downrange and require the knowledge and skills to address common battlefield injuries.”

TCCC-CLS TIER-2 is designed to provide intermediate lifesaving skills in the battlefield to include junctional hemorrhage control, nasopharyngeal airway placement, needle decompression of the chest, chest seal application, and bag valve mask usage. Students are further taught basic triage of casualties, casualty collection points, pre-evacuation, evacuation, 9-Line coordination and documentation.

“At this level of TCCC combat lifesavers can tackle more complicated battlefield injuries as well as assist medical personnel with more invasive interventions bridging the gap between the initial military responder and medical personnel,” said Zacharias.

TCCC-CLS TIER-2 students attend a 40-hour course encompassing lectures that cover 20 modules, 23 terminal learning objectives, 103 enabling learning objectives and 50 skills, as well as passing a 50 question end of course exam.

Master Sgt. Matthew Vandermolen, noncommissioned officer in charge of EOD operations for the wing, was among the Airmen enrolled in the advanced course.

“Being trained to the Tier-2 standard has given me confidence in my ability to provide critical casualty care in any situation, allowing me to focus on the multitude of other factors that can arise in a fast-paced environment,” said Vandermolen.

“This is one of the first CLS courses in the National Guard to include both security forces and EOD,” said Capt. Jessica Green, TCCC officer in charge. “We hope this course equips our SFS and EOD personnel with the medical knowledge and skill set they need should they ever be in a position that requires it.”

Participating Airmen engaged in a full day of real-world scenarios utilizing simulation rounds to encompass the care under fire portion of TCCC. They performed lifesaving skills on high fidelity medical mannequins and live role playing casualties. The casualties were then extracted from the danger zone, triaged and prepared for evacuation.

Lt. Col. Aaron Lunderville, 115th Security Forces Squadron commander, attended the training alongside his Airmen.

“The quality and realism of training we received in CLS was outstanding,” said Lunderville. “My defenders are now better equipped to respond to battlefield trauma with potentially life-saving action.”

TCCC instructors evaluated participants as they ran through scenarios multiple times, and concluded each with an after action debrief.

“As the Air Force changes and adapts it is critical that we develop multi-capable Airmen,” said Green. “This training is a prime example of squadrons collaborating to achieve the 115th Fighter Wing’s vision to provide Airmen who are trained, ready, and dedicated.”