FORT BENNING, Ga. – Personnel from the office of the Program Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation recently brought new, technologically advanced medical training mannequins to the post to increase the realism of medical trauma training and ultimately to save lives and limbs.
The mannequin, known as a Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable, or TC3X, can scream, breathe, bleed and move, and it has arteries, has lungs and has a compartment for storing fake blood when the mannequin bleeds.
John Matthews, an assistant program manager for PEO STRI, specializes in training combat medics within the Army.
Matthews said the new mannequin can help recreate the stress combat medics may face in the field.
“The realism of it creates that white-knuckle sensation and adrenalin for the Soldier,” he said. “So when this actually happens in real life, [the Soldier] doesn’t pause or lock up.”
Realistic medical trauma training enables Soldiers to go through the motions in a combat situation and save wounded Soldiers’ lives and limbs, Matthews added.
Previous medical trauma training mannequins would have moulage – mock injuries – placed on it to show a bloody wound, a chemical burn, an infection or more. The Soldier would treat the mannequin, occasionally addressing the instructor, who watches the Soldier as they provide treatment, by narrating what they are accomplishing, what steps they are taking to treat the wounded.
“In the case of a real injury, they would be talking to the patient – to the Soldier,” Matthews said. “This system, this mannequin, actually has a two-way radio built into the head to where the instructor’s 50 yards away acting as the patient, saying ‘My chest hurts! My chest hurts!’ ‘What happened to my leg? Save me! Where’s my leg?’”
Not only does the TC3X simulate the pulmonary and respiratory systems of a human being, but sensors on the mannequin provide data to the instructor or observer. The instructor or observer can then use that data to provide thorough feedback to the Soldier on his or her performance.
“They can go back and do an after-action review with the Soldier, pointing out the idiosyncrasies, where [he or she] failed or where [he or she] did good,” said Matthews. “And then they can hit the reset button on the mannequin and go through it again.”
As part of placing the TC3X systems at a new location, contractors train the medical combat medics on how to use the system and how to train others on using the system. Then the medical combat medics train other Soldiers.
So far, PEO STRI has fielded the TC3X at five other locations. Their plan is to place 77 TC3X systems at 41 locations within the Army. Initially, Fort Benning is due to have three, but once they have TC3X systems at as many locations as possible, they will expand the number of systems at each location. Fort Benning is set to have 11 systems in total, according to Matthews.
“Fort Benning is particularly important to us because it’s a basic training site,” he said.
Matthews said that training the Soldiers initially will improve their lifesaving skills in the field.