Reservists save hearts, shift minds

| September 5, 2014 | 0 Comments
Samoan Red Cross volunteers learning CPR.

Merisue Bowerfind (second from right), of Anchorage, Alaska, and the detachment chief nurse with the 1984th USAH, supervises a skill as a Samoan Red Cross volunteer properly checks for signs of life on a simulated unconscious victim at the SRC facility in Apia, Samoa, Aug. 25. Volunteers learned how to give proper first aid care to emergency victims during an Army Medical First Responder’s course, which lasted two days.

 

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. James Kennedy Benjamin
305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
9th Mission Support Command

 
APIA, Samoa — Pacific Army Reserve Soldiers with the 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, 9th Mission Support Command, Fort Shafter Flats, Hawaii, traveled thousands of miles to the remote island community, here, where they trained more than 125 Samoan Red Cross (SRC) volunteers in the Army’s Medical First Responder’s course, at the SRC facility, here, Aug. 25-26.

 
The training, equivalent to an American Red Cross Lay Responder’s course, taught volunteers the basics of providing immediate care to ill or injured victims suffering from emergencies, until more professional help arrives to take over.

 
“The last two days, we have been engaged with the Red Cross teaching their volunteers (Basic Life Saver) skills and first aid,” said Capt. Merisue Bowerfind, 1984th USAH detachment chief nurse.

 

 

Capt. Jeremiah Brady, emergency department registered nurse, 1984th USAH, demonstrates proper back blows to a choking infant at the Samoan Red Cross facility, Aug. 25.  The SRC volunteers are preparing for the upcoming Small Island Developing States conference.

Capt. Jeremiah Brady, emergency department registered nurse, 1984th USAH, demonstrates proper back blows to a choking infant at the Samoan Red Cross facility, Aug. 25. The SRC volunteers are preparing for the upcoming Small Island Developing States conference.

 

The medics taught emergency responses for heart attacks, choking and open wounds.

 
“We are happy that the American Army is working with us,” said SRC Secretary General Namulau’ulu Tautala Mauala. “What the American Army has done in the past few days has been really good.

 
“For me, as the head of this organization, I am happy knowing that my team is ready to go, knowing that they have that confidence in their skills,” Mauala added, referring to the upcoming Small Island Development States (SIDS) conference.

 
In preparation for SIDS, the Army Reserve medical personnel will provide medical support, alongside Red Cross volunteers and other medical partner agencies. The medical team brings with them a cadre of specialized physicians, nurses, combat medics and other subject matter
experts.

 
First aid skills were not the only lasting impact that the detachment had on the locals. According to Mauala, the volunteers understood Soldiers as combatants who were only called upon in times of war.

 
“The Army does things in war zones because they want to protect civilians,” Mauala said. “Through this training, the volunteers see that Army Soldiers are not dangerous people, but are here to help others.”

 
The training ended with a short in-door ceremony where each volunteer received a certificate of completion, along with traditional songs sung by SRC staff and volunteers.

 

Army Reserve Soldiers with the 1984th U.S. Army Hospital, 9th Mission Support Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, take a group photo with Samoan Red Cross volunteers, Monday, Aug. 25, at the SRC facility in Apia, Samoa. The medical team trained more than 125 volunteers in a two-day span in the Army’s Medical First Responder’s course, an equivalent to the American Red Cross Lay Responder’s course. (Photo contributed by 1984th U.S. Army Military Hospital, 9th Mission Support Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii)

Army Reservists take a group photo with Samoan Red Cross volunteers, Aug. 25, at the SRC facility in Apia, Samoa. The medical team trained more than 125 volunteers in a two-day span in the Army’s Medical First Responder’s course, an equivalent to the American Red Cross Lay Responder’s course.

 

“We are very thankful to the American Army for teaching us those skills,” Mauala said. “We have created that friendship, a relationship with (the Army). We hope this partnership will continue in the future.”

 
The 1984th USAH took its current form in 1998. The unit is headquartered in Alaska with two detachments there: Det. 1 in Anchorage and Det. 2 in Fairbanks. The rest of the unit is based on Oahu.
It provides direct medical support to the Pacific Regional Medical Command and the Korea Medical Augmentation Program.

 
Over the past three years, 1984th Soldiers have made three missions to Malaysia, two to Indonesia, one to Japan, provided staff to Tripler Army Medical Center and conducted training on the U.S. mainland and in Alaska.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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