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Soldiers train in new MSTC

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“Clear the village, provide medical aid to the wounded American solider, and evacuate” were the orders for the four soldiers demonstrating the new Medical Simulation Training Center, set to open officially the afternoon of April 18.

The MSTC provides a facility that incorporates comprehensive training in several formats: classroom, practical hands-on training, simulation, trauma lanes and distance learning.

According to SSG Marc Stringer, the facility came to fruition in August 2018, and began work in January 2019. The center provides realistic combat trauma scenarios and simulations to transform the Combat Medic training experiences.

“With this facility, we’re actually able to sit there and give them the real and best combat training that we can, without putting them in harm’s way,” Stringer said. “We can simulate combat conditions—daytime, nighttime—and when we place our village outside, it will give them the capability for the surgical hospital [so they] can set their tents up and train in one spot.”

The Combat Medics are not always going to be there, Stringer continued, which is where the Combat Life Savers come in. The MSTC provides multiple different courses, including the three most common: Combat Lifesaver course, the Basic Life Support course, and the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TC3) course.

The facility is meant to enhance medical care on the battlefield, Stringer said. Soldiers—both medical and non-medical, receive the crucial training that can be applied in the field.

The Combat Lifesavers learn the critical skills to provide medical aid in the field, but are not considered medical personnel, Stringer continued. Those soldiers learn skills to prevent casualties in the field, including the top three: hemorrhage control, tension pneumothorax, and airway blockage.

Multiple classrooms are littered with simulation dummies and medical equipment for use, including such realistic dummies that they breathe, blink, and can be controlled with a tablet to mimic certain health conditions and situations a soldier may experience in combat.

There is an indoor village that can mimic day or night conditions, and allows for multiple different scenarios to be played out, Stringer added.

“The capabilities of this facility, it is the best in the Army, I believe, at simulating training for the soldiers so that once they get on the battlefield, nothing will catch them by surprise, we try to enhance everything they see on the battlefield,” Stringer said.

The building is important, because it provides the most realistic training to prepare soldiers for combat, he said. As soldiers, they prepare for combat and go forward to fight for the country.

The demonstration showcased the capabilities of the facility, including the practice that soldiers get evaluating and assessing a casualty during combat, and evacuating the wounded.

Sgt. Mark Epps, one of the four soldiers demonstrating the facility, believes that the realistic scenarios supplement, and sometimes exceeds, the training in the classroom.

“It’s the amount of realism it gets to, how close it gets,” Epps said. “You can do stuff in a classroom all day long, and in individual parts, but you don’t really get a good feeling with how familiar with the material, the treatment, your abilities—until you do it all at once. Until you do it from initial point of contact all the way to treatment and evacuation, builds a lot more confidence.”

Because of the experience a soldier gets running through the simulation village, Epps would recommend it to everyone. It’s a way to enhance skills and work with some equipment that not every unit has the chance to work with.

“If everyone in the team does their job, you’ll be good,” Epps said. “Stay focused. If we all do our parts, we all walk out happy.”