Members of the Maryland National Guard provided medical training to the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina soldiers to enhance their response to emergencies and casualties in combat situations during a weeklong event in late August.
The event, which trained AFBiH members from their military police, artillery battalion, and signal infantry platoons, took place in Tuzla, Bosnia Herzegovina. This medical training happens four times a year through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program led by MDNG Airmen and Soldiers.
“This training has been conducted within the military-to-military partner program for years and allows the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina to improve operative abilities and enable efficient application of tasks and duties,” said Sgt. Sandra Milic, medical technician team leader for tactical casualty care training of the AFBiH. “The practical part of this training is an opportunity to exchange experiences and share best medical practices between the Maryland National Guard and our soldiers.”
AFBiH soldiers received classroom instruction in addition to hands-on tactical combat casualty care application training. Many topics were discussed throughout the lessons including methods to prevent bleeding from major arteries or limb amputations, approaches to dress a wound and the proper way to clear nasal passageways using a nasopharyngeal airway.
“The Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina soldiers were extremely engaged during instruction and expressed the value gained from the information being provided,” said Airman 1st Class Geoffrey Elungata, a biomedical equipment technician with the 175th Medical Group, Maryland Air National Guard. “These types of events provide a platform allowing us to determine the effectiveness of our training strategies as well as the opportunity to further increase a joint force footprint allowing shared capabilities to be implemented when necessary.”
The week concluded with a final training exercise simulating real-world combat situations. The AFBiH soldiers were expected to perform and apply medical techniques learned throughout the training session. Each assigned task was required to be completed by the soldiers within a designated time frame to ensure the highest possible casualty survival rate.
“In combat, these soldiers will be the first line of defense and I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of having non-medical soldiers trained in these skills, and they have saved lives,” said Army Sgt. Michael Conlon, a combat medic assigned to the 104th Area Support Medical Company, Maryland Army National Guard. “We are teaching basic combat lifesaving skills, the soldier next to you can save your life with an immediate intervention, that’s why this training is vital for all military personnel.”
The medical training conducted by the Maryland National Guard is readiness requirement for the AFBiH.