Gimhae Hospital hosts first US/ROK trauma training

by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
Osan Air Base

GIMHAE AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Air Force medics joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea Air Force and Army for joint training in emergency casualty care for the first time at Gimhae Hospital, Gimhae Air Base, ROK, Nov. 28 and 29, 2018.

This historic combined effort saw 51st Medical Group instructors, a Center for the Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills medical director and ROK Army doctors join forces to teach more than 20 Korean airmen the importance of trauma care.

“Our goal is to develop a more collaborative relationship with our Korean counterparts,” said Lt. Col. Brian Gavitt, trauma surgeon and medical director at C-STARS Cincinnati. “We want to share the knowledge and experiences developed with our partners over here in the pacific.”

During the course, students received hands-on training on bleeding control, controlling airways and how to properly apply different hemorrhaging prevention techniques.

“This was my first time going through training like this and it was easy to understand the multiple lessons the course teaches,” said ROK Air Force Capt. Junho Park, a physician with the ROK Air Force Education and Training Command.

Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq taught many experienced trauma medics that the single most common way to prevent death in a hostile environment is to quickly control bleeding.

“The main focus is to stop bleeding and keep the casualty alive until they get to a hospital," said Staff Sgt. Corey Newby, independent duty medical technician with the 51st Aerospace Medical Squadron. “The students have the skills, but we were here to teach them how and when to apply them.”

Participants from both countries believe similar combined trainings are vital in keeping Airmen well-equipped no matter the situation.

“We learned a lot in the couple of days and I hope there will be many of these united classes,” said Park. “With joint courses like these, America and Korea will continue to grow their interactions and will bring us closer as allies.”

When it comes to strengthening the alliance, these medics understand the concept begins at a personal level.

“Our relationship here is critical, we all have the same goal in mind, which is peace throughout the peninsula," said Gavitt. “Sharing our knowledge and experiences helps build relationships, makes our bond stronger and benefits everyone involved at the end.”

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