ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are expected to respond to a variety of situations, including how to respond to a personnel casualty.
The mantra every Sailor is taught in boot camp, ship, shipmate, self, is most exemplified when Sailors respond to keeping the ship afloat in the event of damage, or taking care of and transporting, the wounded.
Abraham Lincoln's Medical Training Team (MTT) is responsible for training all stretcher bearers and ensuring they remain mission ready at all times. To become a stretcher bearer, Sailors must complete the 310 personal qualification standard (PQS) which trains Sailors in the basics of responding to the most common medical casualties.
"We're working on the shipboard basic 11 wounds, which range from fractures to a sucking chest wound," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Sutherland, the ship's nurse and MTT lead. "To complete the 310 qualification, Sailors need to attend the training that duty section provides, and then they need to go through the training program."
Essentially, the MTT is responsible for training the stretcher bearers to become first responders. The stretcher bearers are then placed in the various repair lockers and battle dressing stations (BDS) throughout the ship. It is their job to initially treat any wounds, and possibly transport patients, until professional medical treatment can be given. MTT members run drills with stretcher bearers, repetitiously, during each general quarters (GQ) evolution in order to prepare for the various scenarios that can occur.
"You practice what you're trained, so that it becomes muscle memory," said Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class Roger King, an MTT member. "Injuries can happen to anybody at any time so you should be able to run to it and not away from it."
MTT members ensure that stretcher bearers follow a series of steps specific to each wound and the potentially life-saving skills that can be utilized anytime, anywhere.
"You never know what's going to happen in the world," said Airman Matthew Tobin, a stretcher bearer assigned to a repair locker. "One moment you could be standing there and something happens- someone could be down on the ground bleeding out or unable to breathe. Knowing what you have to do in those situations could definitely save somebody's life."
Abraham Lincoln currently has approximately 10 MTT members and 70 stretcher bearers. Any Sailor aboard the ship is able to become stretcher bearer qualified, which is a prerequisite for becoming an MTT member.
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