By Jake McCollum
[Image courtesy of sbu.edu]
A casualty is something no soldier wants to deal with, but is always prepared for.
This past week, Seneca Battalion ROTC Cadets learned basic first aid and casualty evacuation skills as part of its weekly training lab. Held every Thursday, labs consist of events such as the Field Leader’s Reaction Course (FLRC) or squad training exercises (STX) as well as a review about how to make labs better in the future.
The lab was broken down into three stations, one for wound assessment and treatment, one for picking up the casualty and moving to a secure location, and the last for evacuating that casualty from the battlefield.
Cadets had to learn and demonstrate several different types of techniques for carrying wounded comrades. One was the fireman’s carry, where one cadet had to pick up another from facedown on the ground and carry them across their shoulders. They also learned what to do if their squad takes fire and how to move their downed brother or sister-in-arms to safety.
“I think the most important part [of the lab] was learning how to assess and treat an injury,” MSIII CDT Devin Schoonover said. Schoonover, a junior at the University of Pittsburg at Bradford, was one of the instructors of the first aid station, where he taught over a lifelike dummy that displayed wounds that ranged from compound fractures to third degree burns. These are the same types of wounds that cadets may face when they graduate and become US Army Officers. “This training translates not only to the battlefield but into the civilian world as well… and I think a lot of ROTC training translates well to civilian life.”
Cadets then learned how to deploy stretchers and how to use them to move non-ambulatory casualties. They also reviewed how to call in MEDEVAC helicopters to fly those casualties to safety.
The final part of the lab was a comprehensive test on what the cadets had learned – Army style.
Rubberized M-16 rifles were handed out and the cadets were thrown into a combat scenario, making them adapt to dealing with and evacuating casualties while facing imaginary sniper fire and RPG’s. They had to maintain security in every direction and protect their fallen comrades even as they moved to safety. While the training was fast paced, it was nothing new to Saint Bonaventure’s ROTC unit.
It was all in a day’s work for Seneca Battalion.