MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- When Pvt. Jabar Tuzo-Smith, a medic with the Bermuda Regiment, low-crawled into the smoky room, he did not know what state his casualty would be in, but after a little more than a week of training at Camp Johnson’s Field Medical Training Battalion East, he confidently he faced the situation.
In Field Medical Training Battalion East’s 2,000 square foot simulation facility, where the din and chaos of disaster and war can be replicated, actors portrayed victims of a hurricane while a dozen members of the Bermuda Regiment took turns saving them in the culminating event of their training with the school.
“It was intense,” said Tuzo-Smith, who said even after the test he was still nervous.
During the scenario, Tuzo-Smith was met with almost complete darkness and only flashing lights to see. He moved at a frenetic pace, seeking wounds and treating them while answering rapid-fire questions from a corpsman who provided guidance and challenges for the Bermudan soldier.
“You almost have to separate yourself from the situation,” said Tuzo-Smith.
It’s important for the training to become second nature, said Lt. Cmdr. Erik Hardy, a Nurse Corps officer with the school. The school trains 1,500 students a year who are trained to use their skill sets under duress.
“We prepare them to be combat effective,” said Mardy.
The Bermudan soldiers took an abbreviated version of the eight-week course corpsmen who serve in the fleet Marine Corps take. The soldiers learned tactical combat casualty care and advanced medical procedures to augment the training they have already received throughout their military careers.
The treatments and techniques they learned are different from what a medical professional in a hospital setting uses. In combat or in humanitarian assistance different levels of priorities are used when treating injuries, said Hardy.
The students were hungry to learn, said Hardy. The medics were taught in classrooms, outside of the training facility in a field-environment and in the simulation room.
“We build upon each lesson adding another level of stress and another layer of skills,” said Hardy. “We taught them with a crawl-walk-run mentality. We had to progress to where they are today.”
The simulation area was based on a hurricane scenario. There were sounds of high winds and the actors had glass prosthetics protruding from their skin.
“If somebody gets thrown off of a building that’s what (the medics’) are going to see,” said Hardy.
A hurricane scenario is something Bermuda soldiers may face on the island. The medics who visited Camp Johnson were a part of a larger force that visits Camp Lejeune every few years during Exercise Island Warrior to train with Marines and sailors in Camp Lejeune.
“A hurricane is more applicable in Bermuda,” said Tuzo-Smith. “I feel like I’m more prepared to deal with it.”