21st CSH Soldiers Receive Combat Medical Training

Story by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

Soldiers of the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Corps Support Command, will be deploying soon to the Iraqi theater.

Their mission, as their title implies, will be to provide healthcare - but not just to the Soldiers of the U.S. Army. Their mission will revolve around those detained in connection with Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism.

In preparation for their deployment, many Soldiers are undergoing Medical Competency Training. This training involves Combat Life Saver courses and hands-on instruction at Darnall Army Community Hospital.

"The Soldiers from the 21st CSH are (at Darnall) sharpening their medical skills for their upcoming deployment . . ." said Master Sgt. Teodoro Torres, Senior Clinical Non-Commissioned Officer at Darnall. "They could be doing any number of pre-deployment tasks that are so important to their personal and unit readiness but they are making the sacrifices to prepare for the one aspect of the mission that they feel is the most important thing of all. Being prepared to treat and care for American Soldiers, other coalition soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and both contract civilians and the Iraqi nationals is (the) mission that the 21st CSH team knows can make a difference in stabilizing a country that really wants normalcy."

One of the first steps of training for these Soldiers was CLS classes. After sitting through instruction, they were given the opportunity to practice what they had just been taught. Actually, practice was a requirement.

Pfc. Claudia Vazquez is one of these Soldiers. For her, practice meant several things. One, she had to allow her CLS partner, Pvt. Jubert Segovia, a power generator mechanic, to insert an intravenous line. Unfortunately, Segovia had a hard time finding the perfect vein. Then, he had to insert the catheter. It took Segovia three times to get an IV started for Vazquez. After all, it was his first time even trying.

After being treated as a human pin cushion, Vazquez got to try her own hand at inserting a line. She stood, needle poised, as she eyed an excellent vein.

Her eyebrows close in concentration, Vazquez leaned in for the stick. She pushed the needle into Segovia's vein, guiding it as she slipped the catheter into place.

Straightening up, she watched the blood begin to flow from Segovia's arm. The line placement was perfect. Vazquez smiled, the look of success in her eyes.

After attaching an IV fluid to the line, Vazquez began to wipe the blood from around the site. Her patient's eyes were wide. Segovia was fine, though. To him, the feel of the cool liquid running through his veins was amazing, he said. Both Vazquez and Segovia spoke as though they were on top of the world.

"It was fun!" Vazquez grinned.

Segovia agreed.

"At first, I was scared. I didn't want to do it," he said.

When the class was over, though, his thoughts had changed.

"I like this!"

The next step for these two Soldiers - and their comrades - will not be practice, though.

"I've drawn blood before," said Pfc. Amanda Lockwood, a laboratory technician who is going through the training, "but this is different. This is what we're going to be doing in the battlefield."

While in garrison, though, they are using their knowledge on patients at Darnall. The next stop after that will be Iraq.

With Soldiers like these who are dedicated to their mission and training, they will be successful in their upcoming deployment, said Torres.

"The 21st CSH will do more than just survive in their deployment. They will make a positive difference in our relationship with the Iraqi people."


Pvt Jubert Segovia and Pfc Claudia Vasquez
Pvt. Jubert Segovia, of the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Corps Support Command, prepares to insert an intravenous line as his 'patient,' Pfc. Claudia Vazquez of the 21st CSH, watches. Segovia and Vazquez are just two of the CSH's Soldiers completing hands-on training in preparation for upcoming deployments. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist