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Marine Forces Europe and Africa

United States Marine Corps

USAG Stuttgart, Germany
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FST saves lives, trains Georgians

By Capt. Teresa Ovalle | | May 27, 2003

Trauma Life Support and emergency surgery for Task Force Georgia Training and Equip Program personnel and Georgian soldiers are the bread-and-butter of the Forward Surgical Team capabilities.  That is just the beginning.

"Training emphasizes immediate stabilization of traumatic injuries but also includes battle field related problems to include environmental stress injuries and other problems commonly causing morbidity in a combat situation," stated Lt. Col. Richard L. Wigle, Task Force Georgia Train and Equip Program FST commander and team Surgeon.

The Army soldiers of the FST have a diverse training mission.  Although sustaining life is their number one mission, this qualified team also trains the Georgian soldiers in First Aid and Combat Life Savers skills during the first three weeks of training. 

"One challenge we face is that the Georgian people like to depend on very old, traditional home remedies.  We try to instill a new way of thinking regarding the medical First Aid practices," said Spc. Joshua R. Taylor, X-ray technician and Field Medic, GTEP.

Once this training is complete, the FST staff focuses on specialized training for the Battalion's medical platoon. 

"We work closely with the medics themselves.  We teach them advanced First Aid, give them instruction on establishing their own medical station in camp and suggest new ways to run their camp sick-call and utilize their medical staff," said 1Lt. Anne Z. Redder, FST Operating Nurse, GTEP.

"We also give guidance and offer ideas to help train their own medical staff in the future, how to allocate their field medics and give advanced medical interventions," added the Eastampton, N.J., native.  "The Georgians are very anxious to learn."

The third mission of FST is preventive medicine.  The base camp is assessed for potable water, food and safety sanitation, hearing conservation and implemented pest management.  The mission continues with classes in field sanitation and basic hygiene classes for individuals and food handling staff.

"The entire camp could be affected by one outbreak.  That could close down training for a period of time, which could alter the completion date of this phase," said Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Guerrero, Senior Preventive Medicine Non Commissioned Officer, Heidelberg, Germany.

"My job is to prevent unnecessary sicknesses due to improper personal hygiene and field sanitation," he added,  "and I take my job seriously."