Tish Williamson –
The U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, provided a participatory experience for attendees during the Association of the United States Army, or AUSA, Annual Meeting during the three-day event from Oct. 11-13.
Hundreds of Army senior leaders, industry leaders and other interested AUSA participants stopped by the MEDCoE kiosk for a fully interactive experience that highlighted the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable, or TC3X, mannequin, offering an opportunity to see the simulation capabilities in action during live, hands-on exhibitions.
The TC3X is a rugged, realistic full-body trainer mannequin used to train for the treatment of severe wounds. The mannequin simulates screams, breathing, bleeding, and body movements. Users work on realistic arteries and lungs and navigate a blivet used to store fake blood when the mannequin bleeds during mimicked combat and non-combat trauma scenarios.
Notable visitors to MEDCoE’s AUSA display included Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston and Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command, or MEDCOM.
The annual AUSA national meeting is the largest land power exposition and professional development forum in North America. Formal presenters are selected to deliver the Army’s message by highlighting the capabilities of their organizations and presenting a wide range of industry products and services.
This year’s MEDCoE display was expertly presented by Master Sgt. Kaleb Twilligear, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, MEDCoE Directorate of Simulations, or DoS, and James Kinser, the MedSim Modernization and Technology Program Lead at MEDCoE DoS.
“Our booth has been a constant center of attention,” Kinser said. “We even give people an opportunity to use the simulator themselves by applying tourniquets and packing the junctional wound.” He said the simulator is an eye-catching example of the importance of providing realistic training to the Army medicine force.
Kinser said the TC3X simulator has been around since 2008, and it continues to evolve with each passing year, receiving new updates and added technological advancements that aid in its effectiveness. Soldiers use simulators to refresh and build on past training. Successful completion of official training on the model earns medics a certification on the operation of and use in training with the TC3X.
Twilligear says there are 77 of the TC3X mannequins fielded across the force, including two in the training support company at the MEDCoE. “The intent of the TC3X is not only for medical folks,” he said. “It is for medics to integrate casualty training into the unit team and collective training in operational units.”
An example that Twilligear likes to give is a real-world scenario that most medics will likely face.
“If I am a medic doing convoy operations training,” Twilligear explained. “If given a react to an improvised explosive device, or IED, react to ambush or vehicle rollover recovery, I can sign out a TC3X mannequin and integrate that high fidelity trainer into the scenario.” He believes the trainers add a level of realism and difficulty that most leaders will say are vital to have to consider the training worthwhile or “high quality.”
Assessing the training standards and fielding of the TC3X mannequin is only one of many DoS priorities. Formally established after MEDCoE was realigned from MEDCOM to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, in October 2019, formalizing DoS and its mission are relatively new to MEDCoE compared to other centers of excellence.
“Since DoS stood up, we have focused on defining training gaps, which is step one that will ultimately result in doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy solutions to fill those gaps,” said Twilligear, who joined the MEDCoE DoS team in January.
Twilligear is a special operations combat medic formally assigned to the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, out of Fort Benning, Georgia, with eight special operations forces deployments split evenly between Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Within the Ranger Regiment, casualty response is an “everybody” thing; it's not just a medical thing,” he said. “Challenging training is driven by the commanders; they ensure their Soldiers practice getting hit every time they go out to train. That mindset leads to medical outcomes that save lives.”
He believes, after widespread medical simulation adoption, training standards and data collection architecture used for assessments and performance on medical simulators like the TC3X will become more and more predictive of performance on a real patient.
“Our short-term goals include getting recognition and buy-in both within the medical, and specifically within the non-medical, community,” Twilligear said. “Advancing medical simulation is the single biggest thing that we can do to impact quality, rigor, and realism of training for the entire force and ultimately increase survivability on the battlefield.”