Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Face of Defense: Nurse Brings Knowledge to Guard Service as Combat Medic

By Army Spc. Jacob Hoffman, 109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- Army Spc. Gregoire Mondragon, a combat medic with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 108th Area Support Medical Company, 213th Regional Support Group, is used to the type of work done at the aid station at the National Training Center here.

Mondragon, an Allentown, Pennsylvania, resident, works as a registered nurse at Saint Luke’s Anderson Campus hospital. His military service led him to his civilian health care career.

“Honestly, [combat medic] school was the first introduction to health care that I ever had,” Mondragon said. After going through his advanced individual training, he added, he felt he had the tools necessary to become a nurse.

“I think it was a fluid transition,” he said. [The combat medic instructors] prepare you to take care of emergencies. They gave you the basis of emergency medicine, and I just wanted to explore that a little bit further.”

Unique Perspective

His civilian occupation has also given him a unique perspective on his work at the aid station.

“We are in an austere environment, so the conditions are very different [from a civilian emergency room],” Mondragon said. The aid station’s responsibility is to stabilize patients and then send them to where they can receive more intensive care, he explained.
Both his military job and his civilian career make him a part of something bigger than himself, Mondragon said. “I wanted to use my talents to do something that would benefit the greater good and make an impact on my community,” he added.

Multinational Snipers Strengthen Desert Capabilities in Spain

By Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Haulenbeek, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe

ALBACETE, Spain -- Snipers from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain attended the International Special Training Centre’s Desert Sniper Course last month at the Chinchilla Training Area here.

ISTC is a multinational education and training facility for tactical-level, advanced and specialized training of multinational special operations forces and similar units, employing the skills of multinational instructors and subject matter experts.

The Desert Sniper Course is designed to teach experienced sniper teams skills for operating in desert environments.

“The students that come to this course all have prior experience,” said a U.S. Army sniper instructor assigned to ISTC. “We help them build upon what they already know in order to operate in a desert environment. During the course we teach them concealment techniques and stalking in desert terrain. This culminates with students conducting missions where they put their newly learned skills to the test.”

Because of the nature of their work, the snipers’ names are not used in this article.

Snipers operating in dry or barren environments must take extra measures to alleviate the effects of heat that can increase the challenges when constructing concealed positions, known as hide sites.

Unique Camouflage Requirements

“The biggest challenges snipers will encounter during most desert operations are the unique camouflage requirements, the heat and exposure to the harsh environment, and having to engage targets at extreme distances,” the U.S. instructor said.

The first week of the course gave students the opportunity to acclimate to the environment.

“We ease into operations by conducting ranges where they collect data for their rifles and learn about environmental considerations such as heat mirage and strong winds that affect their ability to make long shots,” the instructor said. “From there, they practice building hide sites and stalking to refine the skills they’ll need when conducting missions during week two.”
Sniper team collects ballistic data.

ISTC’s ability to conduct and train across various countries in Europe provides NATO and partner nations the opportunity to participate in cost effective training close to home.

“Spain is the perfect place to conduct this type of training,” a Spanish sniper instructor. “We have the right kind of climate and terrain to replicate the conditions that a sniper team will encounter when deployed in a desert. We also have the space needed to conduct ranges for long-distance shooting, something that is not easy to find in Europe.”

With snipers from multiple countries, the opportunity to share knowledge helped all those who attended.
“One of the greatest benefits is that our courses bring together knowledge and resources from so many places,” the ISTC operations and plans officer said. “By combining efforts and sharing knowledge, the nations that participate in course like Desert Sniper are able to reinforce alliances and strengthen their capability to work together.”

Camp Lemonnier Holds K-9 Casualty Care Training

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Rullo, Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti -- Veterinarians assigned to Camp Lemonnier and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa conducted Canine Tactical Combat Casualty Care training to joint-service medical and operational personnel deployed here Aug. 18.

The training, which included canine anatomy, primary assessments and CPR, is designed to provide handlers and nonveterinary providers the capability to provide basic first aid until definitive veterinary care is available.

Base veterinarian Army Capt. (Dr.) Richard Blair facilitated the training to personnel from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force medical and law enforcement fields. Blair said that while the focus of the training was aimed at medically trained personnel, people from other military occupations were welcome to attend.

“In a mass casualty situation where military working dogs may be injured, anyone with this kind of training in their back pocket would be extremely helpful.” Blair said. The training combined classroom and practical hands-on applications. Artificial dogs were used as training aids, and participants simulated CPR, intravenous catheter insertion and tracheal intubation.

Army Maj. (Dr.) Steven Pelham, veterinarian for Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa civil affairs, said military working dogs are an integral weapon for today’s fighting forces and that combat casualty care training is an important part of readiness.

“These dogs detect explosives that would go undetected. They save people from getting injured or killed,” Pelham said. “The number of lives one dog can save is worth the medical care we can give them to keep them in the fight.”

Valuable Partnership

Navy Cmdr. Mark Thomas, emergency medical facility officer in charge, attended the training and said that the cooperation between medical personnel and the veterinary units is a valuable partnership that can improve the level of care in an emergency.

“Having our people trained in canine combat care as well as utilizing the veterinarians in our facility gives us an interoperability that allows for better coverage for anyone [including military working dogs] who may be injured in a mass casualty situation,” Thomas said.
Camp Lemonnier is one of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia installations that conducts six lines of operations to support air operations, port operations, safety, security, quality of life, and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases operating. Camp Lemonnier’s mission includes enabling joint warfighters operating forward and to reinforce the U.S.-Djibouti relationship by providing exceptional services and facilities for the tenant commands, transient U.S. assets and service members.