Friday, June 11, 2010


Some things in the Army seem to stay constant across decades, like the Chinook seen above that was training as we entered post for Annual Training. Most things don't.

This first week is bringing home how much things have changes since Afghanistan started. When I first got in the Guard, a medic from the Viet Nam era wouldn't have had much trouble recognizing a lot of the equipment I trained with. We carried M16A1 rifles and 1911A1 pistols. The bandages, pt monitoring equipment, and vehicles hadn't changed much either.

In 2003, when I first went to Iraq, that was the equipment we largely took, although the HMMWV (Humvee) troop and ambulances had been introduced, along with a newer version of the 2.5 and 5-ton trucks (good-bye beloved stickshifts and hated dual rear tires, hello dummied-down automatic transmissions and inflatable while rolling tires. By the time we left in '04, tourniquets were no longer taboo, clotting materials were entering the theater, and Strykers were rolling around the base rather than 113s and Bradleys.

It's changed even more since then. M4 rifles with optical sights, which MUST be slung on the front of the body. Mandatory mounts on helmets (ACH, to the young; call it a helmet and half of them don't know what you're talking about) for night vision devices. GPS systems in company vehicles allowing real-time tracking by the company of individual vehicles as basic as ambulances and simple four-person HMMWVs.

From what the younger medics are telling me, the basic medical doctrine and equipment have also evolved. I'm learning more from them than I can teach them when it comes to direct care in a field environment.

There's going to be a hell of a learning curve coming up.

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