Wrangler medics share their skills with Iraqis

Iraqi airmen apply a tourniquet to Spc. Avery Brown, a medic with the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and a Rosenberg, Texas native, during the final test of their combat life saver training on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq.

By Pfc. Amy Lane

Contingency Operating Base ADDER, Iraq – After three days of classroom training, a class of Iraqi air force personnel wrapped up their combat life saver training with hands-on practice May 14 on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq.

Medics from the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command set up realistic combat scenarios for the Iraqi airmen to practice their new CLS skills.

“They did really well, especially considering the language barrier,” said Pfc. Paul Dalrymple, a medic with the 4th Sustainment Brigade and a San Antonio, Texas, native.

Though the medics worked alongside a translator to help them communicate with the airmen, some things don’t need translating. The classroom was filled with smiles and laughter as the soldiers and Iraq airmen interacted.

“You kind of get to know everyone’s personality, even though you don’t speak the same language,” said Spc. Matthew Haag, a medic for the 4th Sustainment Brigade, a Killeen, Texas, native, and one of the instructors.“There was a lot of banter back and forth and we tried to keep things fun.”

Haag said they tried to keep the class interesting, with races to see who could apply a tourniquet first and carrying each other around on a litter. The training is similar to the CLS course that U.S. soldiers receive, but it’s not exactly the same.

“I’d say it’s more like combat first aid,” Haag said. “We make sure they understand the basics, and we don’t teach them what they probably won’t need to know.”

Soldiers learn about the medical evacuation process, but the Iraqi airmen won’t be using the same process, so that wasn’t included in their training. They also may not have access to the same equipment, so they learned to use what they have.

Haag said the students were very engaged in the class and often asked in-depth questions after they learned basic tasks.

“They want to take everything one step further,” he said. “You can tell they really care about learning the material. They ask tons of questions.”

Staff Sgt. Linda Gatlin, a medic for the 4th Sustainment Brigade and a Palmdale, Calif., native, said she was impressed by their enthusiasm and motivation to learn.

“You can tell they want to be here, they want to learn, and that makes you want to assist them,” Gatlin said. “That really stood out to me and it was exciting as an instructor.”

After the training was complete, the Iraqi airmen were honored at a graduation ceremony. Each graduate received a certificate, and the two top graduates received special recognition and a plaque with the 4th Sustainment Brigade logo.

“Because the Iraqi airmen are so inspired to learn, they are helping to stand up their Air Force, which helps get us out of here sooner,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Mamone, a firefighter who works with the Iraqi training and advisory mission-air and a Troy, N.Y., native.

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