Combat medicine a focus of Cutlass Express

U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd Class Michael Deane, center, instructs a medical training course to Djiboutian Navy sailors. Photo: US Navy

Djibouti is one of two African countries serving as an exercise location for the annual naval training exercise Cutlass Express 2017, which kicked off Jan. 31.

Representatives from Uganda and Mozambique arrived to learn alongside their Djibouti naval and coast guard counterparts about increasing, among other topics, their knowledge of combat medicine.

For the first week, U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd Class Michael Deane, from Molalla, Oregon, trained multiple groups of exercise participants on basic life-saving skills.

The courses prepared the military participants for practical application scenarios which would culminate in a final test on the open water. Each country would send their boarding team to encounter a target naval vessel, and search and seize any illicit materials as part of the scenario.

“The purpose of the training is focused around teaching basic life-saving skills for self-care, buddy-care, and for on-site treatment of a casualty for a combat-related injury,” said Deane. “Largely it is about buying time — buying time for your casualty to get to a higher level of care.”

Deane’s Coast Guard team transported a 200-pound lifelike training mannequin to the Cutlass Express site, which would simulate a variety of medical procedures the exercise participants may encounter in an actual scenario.

“Everything we learned on main medical care was very important,” said Mozambique marine 1st Lt. Zefanias Bila. “For me, a lot was new. The nasal pharyngeal used to provide our wounded with air was very useful.”

Bila said the training exercise was especially important to the African military because of the nature of their work. For countries with long coastlines, he said the marines often encounter situations where emergency medical care may be needed.

Uganda marine Lance Cpl. Simon Zema said the Cutlass Express training helped participants to gain the knowledge to work with confidence and help eliminate drug traffickers and illicit gun smugglers.

Exercise Cutlass Express 2017, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity and promote national and regional security in East Africa.

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