Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Train-up Week Day Two

Today we did a morning session of repelling off of building A and an afternoon session of reviewing TCCC, which, fortunately, was more than just a review in that we applied TCCC to simulated combat while also moving up to tactical movement of the entire platoon.  I brought my D100 today, so I took a lot more photos available on my Picasa page.  Picasa doesn't have the ability to create sub albums so you'll just have to see where rappelling photos start. 

For harnesses we just used short pieces of rope tied into Swiss seats.  The rope was very basic though compared to my commercial climbing rope which has a separate sheath and core.  We had three harnesses that had to be chucked because of some minor breakage of strands.  There was not safety issue though because our fantastic instructor, SFC W, caught the frays.  I suggest that the Army should purchase commercial climbing rope vice the Army rope that we used. 

SFC W going over the rappel rig on the roof of USUHS building A.  The hospital can be seen in the background.

We also learned that our medical school has a rappelling rig purpose built on top of the tallest building on campus.  We probably the only medical school in the country that can say that.  Dean Standford had it placed there, and supposedly would randomly rappel down for recreation.  Every person in the platoon made at least one descent even though some were not keen to be doing it.  We also had a french Army doctor have a go as well.  He was visiting from their military medical school at Val de Grace.  The director of the entire operation, Major (Dr.) B, said he has plans to visit professionally all six of the world's military medical schools next year. 

The initial part of the afternoon session was a bit annoying causing most of the instructors were concentrating on one lane of squad tactical movement with casualties to practice our TCCC.  The other two squads did review of carries/procedures and scenario based discussions.  I think that it might be the third or fourth time we've reviewed carries.  It seems like whenever there is a gap in the schedule that needs to be filled the default for military medical students is review patient carries.  The tactical movement into TCCC operation proved beneficial.  I got to be a civilian casualty, so I decided I was a local national photo journalist since I was clicking away with my camera anyway.  We then did our first platoon level tactical movement with casualties that forced us to use our TCCC and forced people to move up in authority when seniors were killed.  Overall a very beneficial experience.  We didn't have quite enough "weapons," so I carried my camera.  I use quotes because, although they looked and felt like M-16s, they were in fact rubber with metal barrels completely non-functional.
Medical students on patrol in Bethesda.

During both morning and afternoon sessions we came across high-school students from the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine.  Our lead staff instructor spoke to them some while we were in between lanes in the afternoon.  I had left my "weapon" up against a tree and while HM1 L was speaking, I could see the students eyeing the "weapon."  I brought the weapon over and handed it to them.  They seemed pretty excited; it wasn't something they were expected on the trip.  Many took photos, one of which I was asked to be in so the parents would know why the student had a weapon.  Independent of the "weapons" I think it was great that these students saw more than just the buildings of USUHS.  They say medical students who get to do more than just sit in the library all day and study.  Hopefully they will remember their excitement in a few years when they confront the nightmare that is AMCAS.

After we were done I went around looking for other platoons to take photos of.  I got some of the second platoon Alpha Company doing CBNRE.  It was the hot afternoon, and you can see the sweat collecting on Lieutenant R's cheeks while she waits to commence her self-decon.  About this time my camera starting acting sketchy.  I'm its third owner and it's a bit old, so it's not surprising.  Hopefully I can get it working for tomorrow and it behaves.  

Completely separately from my day at USUSH, I must mention a discussion my wife and I have had recently.  She has questioned whether or not Whole Foods really has better produce than our local Safeway.  I now
admit that I've been a victim of Whole Foods' great marketing.  This
week I had cheese go moldy before its due date.  Tonight, I had what
was the best package of blueberries ever from Safeway.  It wasn't the
best because of the flavor, although the flavor was fine, but because
only two berries in the entire container were mushy and trash-worthy.  It must have been the highest percentage good berries I've ever seen.  Further evidence of Whole Foods' being crap is that I have yet to go in there and see a displayed price for each and every product in the produce section.  I've even spoken to the manager about it, yet nothing changes.  It's as if they're trying to hide the prices, so the customer forgets that the nickname if Whole Paycheck.

The views expressed here are those of mine only, and are not to be
construed as those of the Department of the Navy or Department of