Combat casualty care

  • Published
  • By Capt. Amanda Ling, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
  • 920th Rescue Wing

More than 200 members of the 920th Rescue Wing have been trained in the Defense Department’s new Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course here over the last two months.

TCCC is a set of evidence-based, best practice prehospital trauma care guidelines customized for use by all military branches. The Department of Defense now requires all uniformed service members be current in TCCC as it is a critical wartime skillset. TCCC has replaced the previously taught, service-specific trauma courses known to most as first aid and Self-Aid Buddy Care (SABC).

“TCCC is a more standardized approach to training; providing a better knowledge base of the body,  potential injuries, and what to expect while providing the ‘why’ behind the skills we are performing,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Passmore, a TCCC instructor.

There are four tiers to TCCC taught by more than 20 instructors within the wing. Each tier starts with the same foundation and teaches lifesaving skills. The level of training that an Airman receives is driven by their Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), which broadens the scope of practice and drives more intensive course material.

Tier one, All-Service Members, is designated for the vast majority of Airmen. Tier two, the combat life saver, is specific to AFSCs such as security forces, select special warfare AFSCs (i.e. SERE, CCT, TACP, SR), and non-clinical medical members like dental or medical administration. The third tier, Combat Medic & Corpsman training, is dedicated to aerospace medical technicians. Tier four, Combat Paramedic & Provider, is reserved for doctors, nurses, pararescuemen, and paramedics. Each course increases in length, depth and intensity as the tiers progress.

“TCCC immerses airmen into a multifaceted environment where their focus isn’t just life-saving medicine but good tactics, situational awareness, and quick-decision making. We teach these techniques, procedures, and tactics in such a way to make our students understand that learned skills can be utilized in any environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Ashley Malawey, TCCC Wing Director.

Students are assessed by their overall comprehension through individual skill stations and cumulative performance during a “trauma lane” scenario. Each Airman must show proficiency and understanding in the required skill-set in order to pass the course. It is with this standard of instruction that Airmen learn how to effectively respond and react to various scenarios that provide the needed realistic training environment with use of mannequins, moulage, and real medical supplies.

“Having all of our members TCCC proficient enables the 920th RQW to be even more combat operational,” said Master Sgt. Kristin Murray, a 308th Rescue Squadron instructor. “This course takes our mission readiness to the next level and allows us to continue being a superior fighting force while ensuring each member can effectively care for their fellow Airmen if necessary.”