AL TAQADDUM, Iraq -- As the battle for Ramadi and Fallujah continues near Al Taqaddum, Iraq, members
of the Iraqi armed forces conduct counterattack missions as part of the efforts
to regain control over the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-occupied cities.
Near the fight, personnel assigned to Task Force Al Taqaddum are
standing by to provide medical aid to Iraqi soldiers seriously wounded during
these counterattack missions.
The medical personnel are part of advise
and assist teams based out of Camp Manion, where coalition personnel have
re-established presence for the first time since June 2015.
to TFTQ providing advise and assist support, the task force also contributes to
the fight by aiding Iraqi soldiers wounded in action.
soldiers are brought to the gates of Camp Manion, where U.S. Navy corpsmen and
Marines with Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose
Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, are the first
responders to treat their injuries.
Bravo Company Marines provide
security for the camp by conducting patrols, standing post and employing a quick
reaction force team.
Personnel assigned to the QRF must maintain a
high level of readiness, and are capable of responding at a moment’s notice.
As casualties approach the entrance check point of the camp, QRF Marines
and corpsmen are called to respond. Personnel quickly move to the entry control
point where the Marines immediately set up security, search the vehicle
carrying the casualty and the persons in it.
Once the vehicle and
personnel have been cleared, corpsmen move into action and start to aid the
wounded Iraqi troops.
“The majority of the casualties come from Ramadi,”
said U.S. Marine Capt. Charles Dotterrer, the company commander for Bravo
Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines. “They are in the front lines in the Ramadi
counterattacks, so if something bad happens to them there, they bring them to
[Al Taqaddum] for medical care.”
As first responders, the corpsmen assess
the patients’ injuries, stabilize the casualties and perform emergency
procedures on the spot, if necessary. Based on the corpsman’s assessment, it is
determined if a patient will be admitted for further care. That assessment must
meet the medical rules of eligibility to determine if the corpsmen are able to
provide care. Iraqi soldiers who are in danger of losing their life are seen
immediately, where more routine injuries may be referred to local
“[The corpsmen] definitely make a difference. They are the
first people to see the [patients], they do the triage at the gate and call us
back on the radio to report what they injuries are, and how accurate that
assessment is allows us to decide whether we can accept them or not,” said U.S.
Army Lt. Col. Christina Hahn, a general surgeon and the officer in charge of the
forward surgical team for TFTQ. “[The corpsmen] are very accurate [with
The Marines and sailors of Bravo Company, 1st Bn.,
7th Marines, arrived to Camp Manion in early October 2015 and within a 2-month
period have treated more than 130 casualties.
“They are doing a
phenomenal job, they are getting a lot of good combat triaging experience, and
they’re getting a lot of real-world experience with treating casualties,” said
Dotterrer. “Very few corpsmen in the Marine Corps are getting this type of
real-world experience, and I am very proud of what they are doing.”
Officer 3rd Class Bryan Rileysilva, a hospitalman with Bravo Company, 1st Bn.,
7th Marines, said that it is a rewarding feeling to help save somebody’s life by
utilizing his training and skills in real life cases.
“Not only are the
corpsmen doing assessments, and are incredibly accurate, but they’re also doing
a lot of emergency treatment that needs to be done right away,” said Hahn.
“Every single second counts, and [the corpsmen] have done life-saving maneuvers
right at the gate like needle decompressions ... where it’s just a matters of
seconds, so what they do is crucial.”
Saving someone’s life has become an
everyday occurrence for the corpsmen of Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines, and
they are happy to see that their efforts matter.
“I look at these Iraqis
not just as anybody else because they are fighting for their country, they’re
facing the enemy to protect their land and whatever we can do to help out is
very rewarding,” said Seaman Apprentice Ryan Spencer-Smith, a hospitalman with
Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 7th Marines. “It also helps build our relationship with
the Iraqis, and it shows them that we care and that we are trying to help them.
I feel good about what we do.”
The patients don’t stay at Camp Manion for
a full recovery, once they have been treated by the FST and remain in stable
condition, they are transported to hospitals in the region.
sends patients out with a form taped to their chest containing every single
detail regarding the casualty. The paper contains information about the injuries
the patient sustained, the conditions in which they were when they arrived to
Camp Manion, the procedures performed, medicine administered and instructions
for follow on treatment.
The corpsmen and Marines of 1st Bn., 7th
Marines, continue to aid those in need in contribution to Combined Joint Task
Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, which focuses on defeating ISIL in the U.S.
Central Command area of responsibility.