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A Marine with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force inserts a needle into a simulated casualty during the Tactical Combat Casualty Care course at the Tactical Medical Simulation Center, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, July 13, 2017. The course included hands-on medical training and, on the final day, a realistic scenario designed for the trainee to react under pressure. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez

3rd Recon Marines walk a fine line between life, death

24 Jul 2017 | Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Twenty U.S. Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force performed in this scenario during the Tactical Combat Casualty Care training they received from Navy corpsmen at the Tactical Medical Simulation Center, Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, July 10-13, 2017.

The TMSC simulates dangerous environments, such as battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. The difference between life and death depends on the Marines’ ability to quickly apply the techniques and skills taught during TCCC, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Tristan M. Reeb, a TCCC instructor with 3rd Marine Division TMSC.

“This type of training helps 3rd Recon become more effective as a unit by instilling confidence and understanding of TCCC in a combat environment,” said Reeb, a native of Topeka, Kansas. “This course covers both the tactical aspect and the medical aspect of treating a casualty, continuing the objective and preventing additional casualties.”

During the four-day course, the Marines were given classroom instructions for the first three days and a practical application and test on the last day. Throughout the course, the acronym MARCH is used to teach the Marines the step by step process to render life-saving care. The acronym stands for major hemorrhages, assess the air way, respiratory check, circulation check and head to toe assessment

During the simulation, the Marines were evaluated by the corpsmen instructors to ensure they were executing the techniques properly.

“We look to check if they are following the acronym MARCH when treating patients,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class James E. Levine, a TCCC instructor with 3rd Marine Division TMSC. “[We are] also making sure they use the right equipment and apply the right bandages.”

The practical application provided scenarios resembling real-world situations in a stressful, simulated combat environment. The Marines needed to use all the skills taught at TMSC in order to pass the final assessment.

Marines must be ready for an assessment that may take place on a real battlefield, any day. When a corpsman goes down, Marines must replicate the same immediate medical care a corpsman would provide.

“This course provided [the recon] Marines the knowledge necessary to save a life,” Levine said. “If I were with [them] in a combat zone and became a casualty I know these Marines have the skills needed to save my life and bring me back to my family.”

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