Florida Guardsmen teach lifesaving skills to Antiguan Forces

Written by  //  August 15, 2011  //  News

By 2nd Lt. Gavin Rollins

ANITGUA, (July 11, 2011) – Experienced combat medics from the Florida National Guard’s 256th Medical Company recently traveled to the Eastern Caribbean nation of Antigua to train members of their defense force, police and cadets. The goal was to strengthen partnerships in the region through a combat lifesaver course.

Members of Florida National Guard medical community traveled to Antigua on a previous occasion to assess medical capabilities and readiness. From that assessment the request came for a class on combat lifesaving skills. “We felt the course would further develop the medical readiness of our forces” said Capt. Benjamin with the Antigua Defense Force.

Members of the Antiguan Defense Force practice dressing wounds during a combat lifesaver course given by members of the Florida National Guard's 256th Medical Company. The Florida Guardsmen recently traveled to the Eastern Caribbean nation of Antigua to train members of their defense forces. Photo by 2nd Lt. Gavin Rollins

Staff Sgt. Joe Obradovich was the lead instructor for the course. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a combat medic and is a firefighter and SWAT officer for Hillsborough County.

“It was an honor to represent the Florida Army National Guard and provide the Antiguan Defense Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies in attendance with some real world, battle earned first aid training,” said Obradovich. “They were extremely attentive and eager to participate.”

Helping him teach the class were Sgt. Tyler Atkinson and Sgt. Jonathon St. Luise, also experienced combat medics who have taught medical skills on numerous occasions.

The course began with a PowerPoint presentation and video illustrations on different medical principles. The class responded to certain video clips of combat scenes with audible gasps. A clip from the movie “The Three Kings” illustrated in vivid detail what happens when air rushes in the chest cavity and why in that situation a needle decompression is essential so the patient doesn’t suffocate.

After the concepts were discussed in class, the 42 participants broke up into three groups and were taught medical principles using hands-on training and first aid equipment. One particular part of the class was assessing a casualty. The Antiguan forces partnered up in buddy teams and simulated assessing causalities using the ABCs.

Antiguan Officer Cadet Denzel Rodney said this part of the training was particularly helpful, “It was good to learn how to assess a casualty in a systematic manner and to figure out their injury.”

Throughout the three days of training, a mixture of fundamental medical knowledge and practical training provided the class with skills they can use on the job.

“These are skills they will use when someone is injured even if it isn’t in a combat situation,” said Atkinson.