GULFPORT, Miss. – Sixty Airmen from multiple Air National Guard units took part in a two-day Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) as part of the PATRIOT South 2020 exercise between Feb. 29 – Mar. 3, 2020, at the Combat Readiness Training Center located in Gulfport, Mississippi. PATRIOT South 2020 is an annual, accredited Joint National Training Capability exercise that provides a simulated natural disaster environment for units to test their response and capabilities to conduct domestic operations.
“TCCC is going to be the standard going forward,” said Lt. Col. Roger Brooks, PATRIOT South 2020 director and a member of the Georgia Air National Guard. “We’re already focusing on responding in a medical capacity so it made sense to host a TCCC event during the exercise.”
TCCC is the new Air Force initiative to better prepare medical personnel to perform potential lifesaving treatment in a variety of challenging environments, from the battlefield to domestic scenarios. The program will eventually replace the current Self Aid Buddy Care (SABC) training that all Airmen receive.
“This class is a packed two days,” said Maj. Kenneth Autry, a chief nurse from the 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, and lead instructor for the training. “We run our class from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and we use every minute of both days teaching everything from how to apply tourniquets to using equipment and patient evacuation.”
The program spans two days. The first day takes place in a classroom setting where participants are taught the concepts of the program and other information, including how to apply tourniquets, methods of patient evacuation, and pathophysiology of the human anatomy. It is followed by a written exam, which all participants must pass. Day two is the hands-on portion where participants are given scenarios to test their response under pressure, which include treatment under fire and calling 9-line medical evacuations.
The concept of TCCC consists of three phases. The first phase is Care Under Fire, where participants are taught to render the most basic lifesaving care in order to remove patients from a challenging environment. The second phase is Tactical Field Care. In this phase, personnel are taught to administer the next level of medical care while awaiting evacuation. In the last phase, Tactical Evacuation, participants learn to continue medical treatment while evacuating patients.
“This is very good training, not only for the medical providers and medical personnel, but for everyone,” said Col. Mauricia Alo, 108th Wing Medical Group commander, New Jersey Air National Guard, and a participant in the training. “So when we go to the battlefield or a disaster response, we’ll be more able to take care of everyone and make sure they get home.”
TCCC is not only applicable in combat casualty care, but also in mass casualty and disaster response or terrorist situations as well. Participants are taught the differences and similarities in military and civilian care, especially when it comes to traumatic wounds or treatment in a challenging environment.
“If you have something like an explosion, multiple car accident or natural disaster in the civilian world, you can still apply a tourniquet or render care on site in an environment that may be detrimental to the injury,” said Autry. “TCCC covers a lot of those medical interventions that can be used in either civilian or military equations. It’s a great addition to the PATRIOT exercise.”