Soldiers wounded in combat may have a better chance of surviving if the Army gives its warriors better, more realistic point-of-injury training to help their wounded battle buddies, say officials with the Army’s Squad Overmatch Study. Training to respond immediately to combat injuries can be vital, as about 80 percent of the initial treatment in combat situations is done by the wounded soldier himself or the soldier next to him, rather than their medic, they say. A team is working on ways to improve immediate care for soldiers at the point of injury so they stand a better chance of surviving until they get to the next level of care, and ultimately to the hospital. The team includes scientists, medical simulation experts, psychologists, engineers and advisers. This fall, six squads — four Army and two Marine Corps — will take part in a joint effort to improve tactical combat casualty care, or TC3, at the squad level, a move officials say can help fill a gap in tactical training.
Training for individual first aid/buddy aid/self aid is leaps and bounds beyond what it was when I was in. The tools available to the individual soldier and the Combat Lifesaver as well as the attached medic are far and away improved over what it was at the beginning of the War on Terror.
Having said that, there’s always room for improvement. As noted, this is a part of a larger initiative, known broadly as Squad Overmatch.
Currently, there really isn’t some great gap in organic capability between an American rifle squad and any other in the world. Small arms are pretty much small arms. The advantages our squads have are the quality of training, and the access to support from higher echelons, be it fires, sustainment, or intelligence.
The Maneuver Center of Excellence at Ft. Benning is working to find ways to increase the capability of the rifle squad to better enable it to defeat an enemy squad. Much of that involves improved training. Some involves improved technology, and some is about improving what the squad carries with it.
That last item is a real challenge. The squad has to be able to maneuver. That is, move. But between weapons, armor, radios, and other mission essential equipment, the squad is insanely loaded down with weight. That makes it almost impossible to move rapidly. Training and physical conditioning can only take you so far. And the Army has struggled for decades to reduce the soldier’s load, while in reality seeing it ever increase.