Week Three

A bunch of female trainees lift a dummy onto a litter./US Air Force photo

It’s all about the self-aid buddy care this week for Martin as he enters Week Three in Air Force Basic Military Training.

His flight will first sit in a classroom, reviewing some slides demonstrating the various methods used for different injuries. Then they will head outside to actually practice those methods on themselves, each other, and maybe a dummy. (The non-breathing kind, of course.)

This won’t be the first time he and his fellow trainees will learn this stuff in their Air Force careers.

SABC training is one of the annual requirements for all Airmen. If an Airman deploys, they get it. Sometimes, it’s incorporated into a base exercise.

Back in the day, the requirement was fulfilled by watching a VHS tape that was made in the early ’90s, showing Rambo-looking actors putting bandages on gooey wounds made fresh with stage make-up.

While computer-based SABC training is available, most units I’ve worked with provide training that is more realistic and definitely more hands-on, conducted in-person, with relevant and modern multimedia (photos, video, graphics) and props.

While the actual learning of these skills at BMT can be tedious, since there’s a lot of standing and waiting around this week as each Airman must demonstrate the methods, the lessons learned are so important.

I should know.

JB was saved in Iraq by the buddy care performed by JV and others after the mortar landed next to us. He’s alive today because JV took his hands and applied pressure on JB’s open wound, an artery cut by shrapnel that was bleeding out. It slowed down the bleeding, and medics were able to apply a tourniquet and prepare JB for flight to Baghdad for treatment.

JB was later flown to Germany, then to Walter Reed where he stayed the whole summer. Years later, he still received physical therapy.

No doubt JV’s actions were spurred by adrenaline and whatever it is that moves a person to wordlessly spring into action to save another’s life, but it was also his years and years of self-aid buddy care training.

JB getting treatment for his injuries in 2010. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Rubi

And in January, my former public affairs office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio released a story about one of the wing’s Airman who saved a life in Afghanistan using SABC.

That Airman is a Reserve air transportation specialist … which is what Martin will be once he completes tech school.

Of course, between his past military experience and training as a volunteer EMT a few years ago, Martin will be familiar with the SABC training.

So I hope all this training isn’t too tedious for him.

I hope he gets a kick out of bandaging up others and throwing a wingman over his shoulder.

I hope he learns something new.

And I hope he never has to use it.