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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Airmen, Soldiers Mentor Afghan Medical Instructors

10 April 2007
By Staff Sgt. Carlos Diaz
U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs


CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan – A team of five highly-skilled Air Force and Army medics mentor Afghan National Army instructors at the combat medic school in Kabul.

Their mission is to guide the ANA instructors into leading the combat medic course, which was recently extended to eight weeks. As instructors, they serve as mentors and help promote the growth and professionalism of the ANA’s road to self-sufficiency.

“The ANA has never had medics in the field,” said Army Master Sgt. Jeffrey Ryle, combat medic course instructor. “So, after further discussions with the ANATEC (Afghan National Army Training and Education Command), a combat medic course was implemented.”

The course teaches basic emergency medical technician information, anatomy and physiology theory, airway management and patient assessment, just to name a few.

Initially, the course was six weeks, but after further evaluation, it was determined that two more weeks needed to be added to the curriculum.

“We just didn’t have enough time to get them trained during the original timeframe,” Ryle said. “This extra training is necessary to enhance those basic medical skills even more.”

Inside of a lecture classroom in the basement of the combat medic school, Sen. Airman Phillip Bordé teaches a note-taking class to a roomful of students.

“I noticed a need for the students to have good note-taking abilities,” said Bordé, who’s deployed from the 42nd Medical Operations Squadron in Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. “This class should also improve their study skills.” the EMT with two years of outpatient clinic experience said.

Soon after the class ended, Master Sgt. Sherri Tarun, a medical mentor, addressed the students. “After these eight weeks, you’ll be disciplined combat medics ready for war,” she said.

Once the students graduate, they receive sustainment training in the field, Tarun, who’s deployed from the 375th Aeromedical Squadron in Scott AFB, Ill., added.

“It’s great for the students to see us working with the ANA instructors side by side,” Sergeant Tarun said.

One of the ANA instructors is a four-year member of the medical corps. He enjoys working with his American counterparts.

“We’ve learned so much from the American instructors,” ANA Master Sgt. Mohammad Sohaib said. “They’ve guided and helped us in teaching the students. That help allows us to produce the best leaders from this course.”

Sohaib said the students receive classroom lecture during the morning hours and in the afternoon perform hands-on-training in the field.

In the afternoon, the students walked several cement steps toward a rocky knoll. Scattered rocks dominated the hill’s walking path while tall trees dotted the rest of the site.

The students were separated into five groups.

Bordé approached his group, removed his desert camouflage uniform top and wrapped a blood pressure meter around his arm.

The students then took turns with the meter to monitor their systolic blood pressure and stethoscope to hear each other’s pulses.

In another group, Army Master Sgt. Craig Abrom, NCOIC of the combat medic course, took advantage of — what he calls — “opportunity training.”

“I enjoy this type of training because I can quiz and ask questions,” the 22-year Soldier said. “It reinforces what the students have just learned.”

Abrom enforces communication within the students’ learning. He asked the shy students questions so they can become more vocal and comfortable with the material.

“I really enjoy working with these young soldiers, “he said. “I get a kick out of seeing the light bulb come up above their heads. We’re really making a difference with them.”

Two of those students were Mohammad Haleem and Mohammad Sadiq. Their first name wasn’t the only thing they shared.

“We really like the course,” they said. “The medical teachings are well done, and we enjoy learning from the ANA and American instructors, too.”

ANA student Sadiq seemed to grasp the course material. “This course makes sense to me, and I understand it well,” he confidently said.

Abrom noted the students’ gradual improvement and progression.

“The quality of the medics’ knowledge has vastly improved,” he said.

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