Tactical care makes casualties rare

Source: United States Air Force

As of July 2022, Self-Aid Buddy Care, a series of techniques used to provide basic care to wounded Airmen before they get to a medical facility, is no longer being taught. SABC was replaced by Tactical Combat Casualty Care, a training which implements the best medical practices in battlefield trauma care.

TCCC was created by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The committee is composed of 42 voting members across the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. These members utilize research data and real-world expertise to develop the best practices to be used for medical response.

“The committee sits down and looks at what is and isn’t working,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley Madry, 325th Medical Group noncommissioned officer in charge of education and training. “They do research and compare it to (previous wartimes). After evaluating the numbers, TCCC is shown to save more lives.”

The actions of first responders or a fellow wingman are often the difference between life or death after an Airman is injured on the battlefield.

“Switching to TCCC gives us a wider variety of skills that can be utilized on the battlefield,” said Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, 325th Fighter Wing safety technician. “It’s not just because this can be better used in real-world scenarios, but because there may not always be medics available. This allows the average Airman the ability to provide a basic level of life-saving care.”

Looking at previous versions of pre-hospital care, it shows massive hemorrhages are the leading cause of preventable deaths across the Department of Defense. Because of this, TCCC trainers use the acronym “MARCH” when teaching the necessary life-saving skills. MARCH helps members remember which order to provide care to increase the chances of survivability.

“The five skills associated with TCCC are ‘M’ for massive bleeding, ‘A’ for airway and resuscitation, ‘R’ for respiration, ‘C’ for circulation and ‘H’ for hypothermia,” Vicks added. “Because people can die from massive bleeding and hemorrhages at a faster rate, that needs to be addressed first. There’s no point in treating hypothermia if someone dies from blood loss.”

Another change associated with the switch to TCCC is the teaching style. Aside from some instructional videos, TCCC is primarily taught hands-on.

“My favorite part of training TCCC is the hands-on skills training,” Vicks continued. “Personally, I think you learn more from a hands-on environment versus written training. I will work with you until you pass and have the necessary skills.”

While SABC and TCCC are both designed to provide immediate care, Staff Sgt. Eric Dowell, 325th MDG NCOIC of education and training, described TCCC as SABC “on steroids.” Since TCCC has been developed, the U.S. military currently has the best casualty survival rate recorded in history. TCCC is now the accepted pre-hospital care across the DoD and 100% of active-duty members are slated to be trained on TCCC by August 2023 with a goal of zero preventable deaths.