CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT -- Marines and Sailors from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit began receiving advanced first aid training here, April 22, to ensure they have the know how to quickly start the breathing and stop the bleeding when casualties occur.
The medical training the unit is receiving here is specifically geared towards treating wounds in combat, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason E. Hendricks, a hospital corpsman from the MEU's command element.
"This is a class geared specifically at Marines and how they can treat their wounded comrades," he explained.
Taught by corpsmen and medical staff from the MEU and its major subordinate elements, the classes are an improvement on standard first aid training.
The medical training facility here is equipped with several mannequins hooked-up to computers and a fake blood supply, enabling them to breathe and bleed like an authentic casualty.
The mannequins operate in conjunction with computer software that monitors the progress of a Marine's efforts to curtail the bleeding, meaning that if troops fail to apply the proper amount of pressure or slap a bandage onto the right places, the blood flow will only continue.
These realistic props make the training especially valuable, particularly in helping Marines get over the sight of blood and injuries, said Hendricks.
Troops going through the course use the same materials found in their individual first aid kits to dress and treat the simulated wounds, giving them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with their life saving equipment as well.
"The gear they had on hand for us there was what we actually have," said Cpl. Cameron Smith, a gunner from the MEU's Low Altitude Air Defense Platoon, one of the first units to participate in the training. "You take what they teach you and figure out how to make it work."
Familiarizing the Leathernecks with their gear is especially important in regards to knowing how much pressure to apply with bandages and the amount of force needed to properly use a tourniquet, said Hendricks.
In addition to employing innovative materials, the course also stresses an approach to life-saving that is designed to address two of the biggest killers on today's battlefields in the Global War on Terrorism: massive blood loss and internal damage resulting from a collapsed lung, said Hendricks.
The training stresses instant recognition of these injuries and how to immediately begin taking the steps that could mean life or death for wounded troops, said Hendricks.
"This course is all about teaching the principles of keeping a wounded Marine alive through the duration of a fire-fight," he explained.
As the MEU carries-out its scheduled sustainment training on the expansive ranges here, it plans to rotate as many of its personnel as possible through the advanced lifesaver course.
The 26th MEU is in the fourth month of a routine, scheduled deployment that began Jan. 6 as the landing force for the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group.
The MEU is composed of its Command Element; Battalion Landing Team 2/2; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-264 (Reinforced); and Combat Logistics Battalion-26.
For more on the MEU, including news, videos and contact information, visit www.usmc.mil/26thmeu.