Red Bulls patrol area around COP Najil

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)

64th MPs: Brothers, sisters in arms

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)

Iowa town showers small Afghan school with supplies

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)

TF Knighthawk Soldier prepares for recording contract during deployment

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)

Guard team partners with Afghan security forces

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)

French forces support Afghan troops in Kapisa

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)

Panjshir PRT engineers inspect Paryan road

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)

TF White Eagle saves lives of mother, infant

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)

1st Bn., 187th Inf. Regt., patrols Sabari District

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)

Freedom Restoration Center helps troops get back to duty

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Students in a recent litter-bearer class held at Salerno Hospital get some hands-on training by loading a “patient” into an awaiting Blackhawk helicopter. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Brent C. Powell, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division)KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – It’s one of the worst-case scenarios on the battlefield.  Some Soldiers have been seriously wounded and are losing blood.  As each minute passes, their chances for survival lessen.

When they arrive at the airfield at Forward Operating Base Salerno it is important to get them into the hands of medical professionals as soon as possible.

In fact, doing so can literally mean the difference between life and death.

In order to accomplish that mission, the FOB Salerno Combat Support Hospital recently reached out for help and hosted an all-volunteer litter-bearer class.

“The purpose of this event is to make sure we have enough trained individuals to unload mass casualty patients from either a medical evacuation helicopter or field ambulance, and get them quickly and safely into the hospital,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ivan Montanez, a 35-year-old medical supply specialist and instructor for the litter-bearer class, 344th Combat Support Hospital. “We wanted to ensure that the Soldiers and Airmen who go out to help are trained up and ready to go.”

Earlier in the week a notification was sent via e-mail at FOB Salerno giving information about the class and asking for interested volunteers.  By the time the class was ready to begin, more than 25 students had arrived to participate.

The training began outside of the hospital with a quick familiarization of a “rickshaw,” a two-wheeled, metal-framed, litter-bearing device designed to assist in the quick and safe transport of patients.

After seeing how the rickshaw is employed, the students were taken to a field ambulance where they were shown the proper procedures for unloading patients and placing them on a rickshaw.

The next bit of training took the students to the flight-line, where about ninety-percent of medical evacuation patients arrive.

After discussing proper safety techniques and necessary equipment, the students got some hands-on training practicing loading and unloading “patients” from rickshaws on and off an awaiting UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.

Once the volunteers had a good understanding of the procedures, it was time to add an element of realism to the training.  

The medevac helicopter started its engines and moved into its normal arrival position on the airfield.  The students again took turns loading and unloading volunteer patients.

“I enjoyed the training tremendously,” said U.S. Army Spc. Terence R. Ellis, a 24-year-old preventative medical specialist from Washington, D.C., assigned to the 71st Medical Detachment, 344th CSH.  “I learned how to properly unload patients and get them to the help they need.  I now have a better understanding of everything from start to finish.”

According to Montanez, having more trained personnel will be a big benefit.  

“Their service is very valuable,” said the Brentwood, N.Y., native.  “When we have mass casualties and they show up, they will be a tremendous help.  Even if we don’t need them for litter-bearers, we can still use them in some capacity.  We can always use a helping hand.”

Although they are not obligated to help out in the future, the students seemed excited about learning the new skills and putting them to use when called upon.  

“Now that I have this training I will be ready to help out when the next mass casualties come in,” said Ellis.  “As soon as I hear the call, I’m going to find my way here and assist the medical staff in any way I can.”
KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A team of litter-bearer volunteers learn how to properly move a patient from a litter to a hospital bed in the emergency room of the Salerno Hospital. The training took place during a recent litter-bearer class to help ensure injured patients get the assistance they need as soon as possible. (Photo by U.S. Sgt. Brent C. Powell, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division)KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Students in a recent litter-bearer class held at Salerno Hospital get some hands-on training by transferring a “patient” from a rickshaw litter carrying device into an awaiting Blackhawk helicopter. (Photo by U.S. Sgt. Brent C. Powell, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division)



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Afghan forces, TF Bastogne continue operations in Sherzad District

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Bastogne, continued operations in the Sherzad District Jan. 8 clearing the village of Toto of insurgent fighters to reinforce a foundation of security in the area.

TF Iron eliminates insurgent IED team

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers form Task Force Iron Rakkasan and members of the Afghan Uniformed police, using the Precision Threat Detection System blimp at Forward Operating Base Andar, identified a group of insurgents with weapons and explosives Jan. 3.

TF Iron Rakkasan uses PTDS to prevent highway robbery


GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Recently, Soldiers from Task Force Iron Rakkasan watched a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police conduct an illegal checkpoint on the route between Ghazni and Sharana. Using the camera system on the Persistent Threat Detection System, Soldiers observed a man standing in the road collecting money from vehicles. The practice is common by insurgents who fund their attacks by taking money from locals.

Joint operation helps clear Sherzad of insurgent activity


NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Soldiers from Task Force Bastogne began operations in the Sherzad District Dec. 23.