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Iraqis Benefit From U.S. Medical Training

By Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr.
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HUNTER, Iraq, Aug. 28, 2009 – Soldiers of 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment’s Task Force “Saber” and Iraqi security forces worked together to provide advanced medical training to Iraqi forces in southern Iraq’s Maysan province.

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An Iraqi police officer practices applying an intravenous needle on Army medic Spc. Justin Keeling while Army medic Sgt. James Thompson looks on during combat lifesaver training at Forward Operating Base Hunter, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr.

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Members of the Majaar al Kabir District Police and 1st Battalion, 41st Iraqi Army Brigade, participated in combat lifesaver training led by task force medics, military police and border transition team members.

“This training will save lives -- both Iraqi and quite possibly U.S.,” said Army 1st Lt. Keith Chiro, a platoon leader assigned to 2nd Platoon, 57th Military Police Company.

The hands-on focus of the training helped to bridge the language barrier, Chiro said, resulting in a better understanding of medical techniques.

The combat lifesaver course consisted of lectures and practical exercises that focused on various techniques practiced by U.S. forces, including casualty evaluation, tourniquet application, airway clearing, blunt trauma treatment, splinting, hot and cold weather injury recognition and treatment, intravenous management and shock treatment.

For some students, IV needle application caused the most anxiety. For most, this was their first experience applying and receiving an IV. Detailed instructions and demonstrations built confidence and trust, with numerous Saber medics serving as patients.

Iraqi trainees demonstrated their medical proficiency in a culminating exercise overseen by the deputy commander of the Majaar al Kabir police and the commander of 1st Battalion, 41st Brigade.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better group to work with,” said Army Spc. Allen Steele, a medic assigned to 2nd Platoon, 57th Military Police Company. “In-depth questions proved how interested they were in learning about more advanced medical training.”

While the class has ended, officials said they plan to continue the partnership.

“This training was only the beginning of our partnership,” Steele said. The squadron’s next step is to plan “train the trainer” classes.

Advise-and-assist partnerships like these pave the way for Iraqi security force success, officials said. Graduates now will be able to treat anything from routine to life-threatening medical conditions with confidence, benefiting the people of Maysan province.

(Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr. serves with the 1st Armored Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq
Multinational Corps Iraq

Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Iraqi army trainee eases a breathing tube into border transition team member, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Stutz, during a combat lifesaver course on Forward Operating Base Hunter, Iraq. The breathing tube provides a secondary airway for a patient whose natural airway may be obstructed due to injury. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Victor Correa  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAn Iraqi army medic sits alongside trainees during medical training held on Forward Operating Base Hunter, Iraq. The class offered Iraqi security forces an opportunity to practice skills used by coalition medics. U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr.  
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