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New training prepares Airmen to save lives

By Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs | Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs | April 23, 2019

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia —

Airmen are “arming up” their life-saving skills with Tactical Combat Casualty Care, also known as TCCC.

TCCC is a standardized course created to equip every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine with the basic skills to save lives in combat operations.

Replacing the Air Force’s Self Aid and Buddy Care Program, TCCC teaches Airmen to treat injuries until medical care arrives.

TCCC is a two-day course created by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and adopted by National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. It teaches life-saving skills and methods proven effective in a combat environment.

“Injuries happen every day,” said Maj. Barbara Jean, Air Force Medical Service Training and Doctrine Branch deputy chief. “TCCC ensures all Airmen are equipped with effective life-saving skills needed to tackle them.”

In addition to training Airmen how to deliver care under fire or threat, or when equipment is limited, TCCC also prepares them to deliver basic care during and after tactical evacuation to higher levels of care.

Exposure to medical training and techniques is valuable for Airmen who work in medical fields but do not directly treat patients.

“Teaching and executing these critical life-saving skills changes how our health services management Airmen relate to patient care,” said Tech. Sgt. Dustin L. Mayo, TRICARE Operations and Patient Administration Flight Chief at the 366th Medical Support Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. “TCCC combines our administrative talents with leading trauma techniques, and we are bringing that to the battlefield.”

The TCCC course teaches skills such as nasopharyngeal airway insertion, wound packing and tourniquet application. It focuses on controlling massive bleeding first, then airway management. Training also focuses on care under fire, in addition to tactical field care and tactical evacuation care, essential need-to-know capabilities to save lives while undergoing hostile combat conditions.

“This type of training ultimately supports the unit and the mission by equipping all warfighters across the military with vital medical readiness training,” Jean said. “TCCC prepares them to care for casualties, including themselves, in any environment.”

Air Force medical groups are in the process of establishing TCCC training centers to support their wings. At the 366th Medical Group, Mayo says the goal is to train 3,000 Airmen in casualty care every 18 months.

“We jumpstarted that vision in our medical group by creating a combat-ready culture through innovation starting with our health services management TCCC-certified instructors,” Mayo said. “It’s a true honor to be a part of the TCCC roll out. Our experience learning TCCC within the medical group is valuable as we bring the training and innovative technology to the rest of the 366th Wing.”

At the 366th MDG, TCCC trainees have access to a bleeding mannequin known as TOMManikin, which is a trauma simulator mannequin made for classroom environments, field scenarios and immersive training. This allows Airmen to experience a variety of wound treatment such as burns, blasts, gunshot wounds and tourniquet application.

“What makes this innovative mannequin unique is that if a tourniquet is not properly applied and tightened correctly, the TOMManikin will continue to bleed until proper application,” Mayo said. “Needless to say the experience was educational and interesting.”

The 366th MDG also uses a Wound-In-A-Box, a device featuring a deep prosthetic wound to realistically simulate arterial bleeding. To stop the simulated bleeding, combat gauze must be properly packed to staunch the wound.

“Several health services management Airmen in the class had never experienced this before and were eager to step up,” Mayo said. “For me, learning this combat casualty care took multiple attempts, but I got the hang of it.”

With standardized course guidelines, hands-on training, and innovative teaching materials, all Airmen can prepare to save lives through the TCCC course.

“As health services management Airmen, we focus on health administration, so the TCCC course is an amazing opportunity for hands-on medical training,” Mayo said. “TCCC gives us the confidence, attitude and experience to save lives in the event of deployment to a combat zone, or if we encounter an injury here.”