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Gimhae Hospital hosts first US, South Korea trauma training

Staff Sgt. Mitchell Harkley, an independent duty medical technician with the 36th Fighter Squadron at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, demonstrates how to provide self-aid buddy care response to ROK airmen during trauma care training at Gimhae Hospital, Gimhae Air Base, ROK, Nov. 29, 2018. U.S. Air Force medics joined their counterparts from the ROK Air Force and Army to hold the first ever joint training on trauma care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

U.S. Air Force Maj. April Kelly, right, a registered nurse with the 51st Medical Group at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, educates a ROK airman on how to properly apply an IV during trauma care training at Gimhae Hospital, Gimhae Air Base, ROK, Nov. 29, 2018. Students received hands-on training on bleeding control, controlling airways and properly applying different hemorrhaging prevention techniques for emergency scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa)

GIMHAE AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- U.S. Air Force medics joined their counterparts from the South Korean air force and army for joint training in emergency casualty care for the first time at Gimhae Hospital, Gimhae Air Base, South Korea, Nov. 28 and 29.

This historic combined effort saw 51st Medical Group instructors, a Center for the Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills medical director and South Korean 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 properly applying hemorrhage-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 South Korean air force Capt. Junho Park, a South Korean air force Education and Training Command physician.

Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq taught trauma medics that the 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, 51st Aerospace Medical Squadron independent duty medical technician. “The students have the skills, but we were here to teach them how and when to apply them.”

Participants from both countries said they 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 (training together) 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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