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ANA soldiers graduate combat medic course

Afghan National Army medics with the 1st Brigade, 215th Corps, escort two ANA patients (center) toward an Afghan Air Force MI-17 helicopter at a landing pad here, Dec. 28. The two patients were part of the first independent Afghan National Security Forces medical evacuation operation. The medevac was single-handedly coordinated with the AAF, and executed by ANA medics and soldiers of 1/215, under the supervision of the Regimental Combat Team 5 Embedded Training Team. The patients were transported to the Shorbak troop medical clinic, to receive more extensive care.

Story by Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez
Regimental Combat Team-5, 1st Marine Division

CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan — The Afghan National Army in southern Helmand has added newly certified combat medics to its ranks.

Twenty-one soldiers with various kandaks, or battalions, of the 1st ANA Brigade, 215th Corps, graduated from the brigade’s inaugural combat medics course during a here, Jan. 7.

Throughout the five-week course, instructors taught the eager ANA soldiers preventative medicine, supply procedures, patient aftercare and clinic operations and procedures, using hands-on, practical application methods.

“We also taught the soldiers how to treat patients at the point of injury,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Israel Rosa, a medical advisor with the Regimental Combat Team 5 embedded training team and 26-year-old native of Stanton, Texas.

In addition to on-scene combat lifesaving techniques, students learned how to request a medical evacuation and provide continued care en-route to the next echelon of care.

“The medics have learned a basic skill set to provide critical care on the battlefield,” said Chief Rob Longbottom, a chief medical advisor with Combat Logistics Battalion 1 and 35-year-old native of Alton, Ill. “They should strive now to develop this skill and share their knowledge with their peers.”

The combat medic course is in the process of becoming an ANA operated course as the brigade’s Marine and Navy advisors gradually shift into more of a supporting role.

“Now that we have successfully completed the first course, we can fine tune it and move forward with the next phase,” explained Rosa.

The medical advisors selected two potential instructors from soldiers who demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the concept of combat lifesaving.

“Not only did they understand and demonstrate proficiency with basic medic skills, they also had an understanding of why certain procedures are done,” Longbottom said. “They understand the ‘reason behind the rhyme’, which is an important trait to possess as an instructor.”

The completion of the course provides the brigade and its kandaks with more soldiers capable of providing critical, lifesaving care for their fellow soldiers operating in southern Helmand.

“The medics course will help us become more independent,” explains Maj. Abdul Baqi, the surgeon in charge of medical operations with 1/215. “We will be able to treat our own soldiers with our own medics.”