Training Takes Over As Medics Treat Soldiers They Know
By Spc. Courtney Marulli, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq, Nov. 28, 2006 The medics of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, train hard to save the lives of any soldier, and sometimes that includes the lives of soldiers they work with on a daily basis.
Army Pfc. Chris Llewellyn, a medic with the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, preps Spc. Clint Zeller for an intravenous injection at Forward Operating Base Loyalty, Iraq. Photo by Spc. Courtney Marulli, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
These Army medics found out quickly they have little time to adjust from garrison to combat once in Iraq.
Sgt. Bambi Sharpe, the supply and evacuation noncommissioned officer in charge for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, of Rocky Mount, N.C., said the new medics did a wonderful job when several casualties came in after a mortar attack.
"I thought, initially, we were going to have people choke up,” Sharpe said, “but they got right in there and got their hands dirty. I am very proud of them."
Sharpe said seasoned and new medics are stepping up and doing what needs to be done to properly care for patients.
Pfc. Heaven Gallop, a medic with HHC, BSTB, from Winston, S.C., said she wanted to be a medic since she was a little girl. She used to go around trying to bandage animals and other children whenever they were hurt. "I grew up watching war movies with my father," she said. "I wanted to be the one out there with the face paint and helping."
Gallop said the medical team for her brigade, with a mix of medics and physician's assistants, offers her a great environment to continue learning about the medical field.
When her first patient came in, Gallop said, her training paid off.
“You don't really have time to freak out. You don't have time to process it," she said. "You can only concentrate on the patient and then later reflect on it. You always learn from each patient, because they're different."
Gallop said it’s rewarding when patients look at her and know they can depend on her. She said she also feels good when she's done the best she can to help someone.
Pfc. Chris Llewellyn, of Sacramento, Calif., a medic with HHC, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, said even though this is his first deployment, he isn’t feeling too apprehensive. “I had more anxiety before I got here than since I’ve been here,” he said.
The first time Llewellyn toured the aid station, there was a mortar attack and the lights went out. Several casualties came in, but the trauma training he received prepared him for the emergency and the outage, he said.
Aside from treating casualties, Llewellyn said, he is learning how to manage sick call, which includes learning about medications and how to tell what is normal by listening to someone’s heart and lungs.
Pvt. Charlie Pennington of Indianapolis, a line medic with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, said he was a pre-med major before joining the Army. His interest is orthopedics, but he enjoys it all aspects of health care. This is his first deployment, and Pennington hasn’t had to treat a casualty yet while out on patrol.
“We’ve been shot at, but no one’s been hurt,” he said.
Even though he hasn’t treated anyone yet, Pennington said he feels prepared because of the experience he received at medical school. Pennington said he was also an emergency medical technician in high school.
Medics not only have to learn the technical aspects of their job, but also may have to put their knowledge to use on those they know. For Sharpe, that is the hardest part of her job.
"It's hard to work on someone you know who is on the table," she said. “I was a line medic last time, and it got real personal. Those guys are the ones who have your back, no matter what."
(Army Spc. Courtney Marulli is assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs.)