Dushanbe, Tajikistan –As a dozen nurses and doctors sprint into the courtyard as a gruesome scene unfolds.
Casualties are sprawled out all over the ground. A man runs around screaming, another is spread out with a fractured skull from the brick lying next to him and right in front is a women, unconscious with a branch impaling her leg. It is utter pandemonium.
This is where all of the training is going to be put to good use.
Ripping through the packaging of a tourniquet, one nurse evaluates the victim, minor bleeding and unresponsive.
“Stop,” says and interpreter in Russian.
As quickly as it started, the exercise is over.
Thursday’s field training exercise is the culmination of a four-day instructional period that Soldiers of the 51st Troop Command have been teaching to doctors and nurses of the Dushanbe Hospital, said Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Bruce, training non-commissioned officer, Medical Command, Massachusetts National Guard, and the non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the operation.
The scenario has two parts; the first part is classroom instruction involving the medics of the 51st and the students, doctors and nurses of the Dushanbe Hospital. The classes include splinting, triage, tactical combat casualty care and hemorrhage control. Also, the medics highlighted the use of evacuation and evaluation, using the DIME methods; Delayed, immediate, minimal and expectant.
The second part is the field exercise.
“Watching them improve from one iteration to the next gives us a feeling of accomplishment, especially after the field exercise,” said Sgt. Michael S. Struppa, Squad leader, 1st Battalion, 182nd Medical Company, Massachusetts National Guard.
The students worked so well that we achieved all of the training, including the final exercise that was required in four days instead of the original five, said Struppa, who is participating in the exercise for the second time.
“It was due to the excellent instruction put on by the medics involved,” said Struppa.
This includes Staff Sgt. Robert F. Campbell and Sgt. Charles J. Rozier both of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment. It also includes Bruce and Struppa.
Also, on their list of accomplishments is making the Tajiks aware of the standards and equipment of the U.S. Army Medics whom work with a lot of field aid, said Bruce.
The equipment that they used to teach the Tajiks was also donated to them, said Bruce. Some of the supplies are for further instruction and even more for actual use in case of a situation such as the earthquake.
“One of the most important things is making sure they are prepared in case something like this happens,” said Bruce.
Another important accomplishment for the Soldiers is the relationships they create.
“You never know when we’ll be here again, maybe due to an earthquake like the scenario depicts or maybe for other reasons,” said Bruce. “Either way, we’ll know that working together is possible.”