From SABC to TCCC, Team Scott is combat ready

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Violette Hosack
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Combat readiness is an essential part of each base's mission and there are many factors that go into getting everyone ready for potential conflicts. An unfortunate inevitably of conflict is that Airmen may be in harm’s way and may become injured. To ensure Airmen are ready to treat life threatening injuries, Scott Air Force Base has started Tactical Combat Casualty Care training, or TCCC training. 

The course combines combat lifesaver training, care under fire, and tactical field care. The first class occurred April 25, and gave eight students the opportunity to learn the difference between providing care under those circumstances. 

“With care under fire, you're going to be minimally taking care of mass bleeding,” explains Master Sgt. Hearst, 375th Medical Group education and training flight chief. “Using tourniquets are pretty much the only thing that you're going to be doing, then transitioning to field care. That's when you start dressing all the wounds and everything else.”

The Air Force transitioned to this from Self-Aid Buddy Care, or SABC, "because during the last 20 years, they've realized that there were a lot of things that were being done in the field as far as health care, that were actually leading to an increase in deaths,” Hearst said.

The Air Force looked at the processes of SABC from the previous 20 years and realized they had to refine how Airmen took care of each other in the field. They had to figure out what was actually necessary in order to save a life. 

Most situations where life-threatening injuries occur are not in calm, controlled environments. That's why TCCC has three goals: treat casualties, prevent additional casualties and complete the mission. Airmen are taught this through a multi-tiered system. 

As of now, there are three different tiers of TCCC. Tier one is for all service members. It’s the basic knowledge on how to take care of immediate threats to casualty. Tier two is primarily for non-clinical medical staff who can provide extra care to patients. Tier three is for nurses and providers–the ones who clinically see patients. They have higher education and knowledge of care and treatment. Tier four is not out yet, but it is being developed. This tier is going to be ambulatory care. 

Training each member to be combat ready is not something that can be accomplished alone, nor is it a checking of the box and you are ready, said Hearst. It requires everyone to continually move forward and improve. This is all the more important during tough or dangerous times where a wingman can save your life, or you save theirs. 

Service members who have taken the class say they believe this information will stick with them better than SABC did, and they are required to get training for TCCC every three years to keep them as ready as possible. 

Staff Sgt. Shelby Thacker, 375th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, said, “the care that was [taught] here would help save patients in the long run, especially when you’re under fire. If your leg was broken off, I'm going to do what I can to save your life so you can get back out in the fight.” 

As the Air Force continues to evolve its tactics for not only current conflicts, but those of the future, TCCC is a vital step to ensure that Airmen "rehearse" how they would when in dangerous situations to increase the survivability of those around them.

Thacker added, “I would recommend anybody who takes TCCC to take it seriously. This is something that regardless of what your job is, that should be important to you, You can take these skills and use them in real-life scenarios.”