ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- It is true, members of different military branches poke fun at each other- a Marine may call it the Chair Force, and an Airman might cast a joke regarding the flavor of a specific crayon. But the truth is: in the heat of war, with live rounds flying overhead and explosions nearby, any military member may be the one performing life-saving medical techniques on a fallen comrade, and which uniform they wear won’t mean a thing. Which is exactly why the Air Force is increasing its combat medical skills standards.
The Air Force has already begun implementing a new combat medical training program called Technical Combat Casualty Care, or TCCC. During the last week, two separate classes have been hosted by the 36th Contingency Response Support Squadron.
“It’s kind of like an amped-up Self Aid Buddy Care training,” said Tech. Sgt. Parise Owens, a Public Health Technician with the 36th Contingency Response Group. “The difference is that TCCC puts students more in that simulated combat zone, where they’re actually operating under pressure using the techniques they learned in the classroom.”
TCCC training is a two-day course that covers field medical training techniques that the students need to save a wingman’s life in a combat scenario. The first day of training, students are taught those techniques in a classroom setting. The second day, they put them into action.
“Our goal is to put the students into a controlled stress environment,” said Owens. “They use small troop movements, we shoot sim rounds at them, and they get the chance to perform field medical procedures in a more realistic environment.”
The students being trained currently in this course are Airmen from the 36th Medical Group, 36th Contingency Response Group, and 644th Combat Communications Squadron, however this course is expected to replace the Air Force SABC course.
“SABC teaches you important skills but TCCC gives the students the realism,” said Owens. “We don’t want their first time experiencing that to be when they are really trying to save someone’s life while under fire. Practice makes perfect, and if we give them that the chances of really saving a life go up.”
Owens also noted the disparity in training between branches, and how this training is meant to mirror the field medical training utilized in the other U.S. military branches.
“We have to be able to work side by side with the other branches and be unified in how we treat our comrades in order to save their lives,” said Owens.