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103rd Rescue Squadron Conducts Emergency Medical Training

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, NY -- Senior Airman Christopher S Muncy
106th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

103rd Rescue Squadron Participates in PJ Refresher Training

WESTHAMPTON BEACH; NY - Pararescuemen and Combat Rescue Officers with the 103rd Rescue Squadron conducted emergency medical training at FS Gabreski ANG on February 27th, 2014. The training involved PJ's and CRO's rotating through various trauma and medical scenarios, replicating the types of injuries and illnesses often seen on the battlefield, or in rescue settings.

"The courses offered here are a requirement for paramedic and Pararescue recertification," Major Glyn Weir, a Combat Rescue Officer with the 103rd RQS said at the beginning of the training. "It's being put together by LtCol. Stephen Rush, M.D. , who has been appointed the USAF Pararescue Medical Director. "

PJ's and CRO's moved from one scenario to another, treating patients with simulated combat wounds and complex injuries. "We're slowing things down a bit," Major Weir explained. "We're training for perfection through repetition. No matter how stressful the situation may be when we are on the battlefield, treatment and diagnosis become automatic when it is ingrained. We are repeating it and reinforcing it so that it becomes muscle memory."

"The thing about this training," Doctor Rush later explained, "as opposed to what we do in a civilian paramedic course, is that it's operationally focused, but still meets the requirements of the National Registry for these men to have their full Paramedic Certification." Instead of using pure civilian motor vehicle accident protocols, the training concentrates on problems like blast trauma and gunshot wounds. By accomplishing this training "in house," the 103rd RQS was able to save a significant amount of money that can later be applied to other types of training that complement the course. Keeping it local also allows the 103rd to take advantage of local facilities like North Shore LIJ, which has offered use of their Patient Safety Institute. "[North Shore LIJ has hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment that we've been able to use," Doctor Rush continued. "We've had access to simulation rooms with the most sophisticated mannequins and two way mirrors and microphones, as well as the cadaver lab, which is a surgical skills laboratory. PJ's can learn invasive battlefield procedures on human anatomy. We also benefit from their professional faculty interacting with and teaching the men. For example, that we have a real-world heart and thoracic surgeon actually showing the techniques to them, and watching the PJ's to make sure they're doing it right. The things that we do when we practice are the actual procedures and protocols that the PJ's execute in theater. Most important, the first time they are doing these procedures is in a controlled environment with direct medical supervision, not on the battlefield with a young man or woman where he have [only] one opportunity to get it exactly right. So we know we're sending them into the worst circumstances to do the best job they can to save our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines."

In addition to the 103rd Rescue Squadron's participation, Pararescuemen from the Field Training Unit in Arizona and a Flight Surgeon from the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base took part. "[The PJ's from 38th RQS and Field Training Unit] will be bringing the training they receive here back to their units," Major Weir said. "They're getting a lot of hands on training from Doc Rush, who is really pushing to streamline the process and standardize medical care throughout the pararescue community."