16 Medical Regiment Op HERRICK 13
From the formal Transfer of Authority from 3 Med Regt on 14th October 2010 the Regiment settled into its operational role quickly.
Working under the name of the UK Close Support Medical Regiment, medics, drivers and comms specialists alike all set about supporting the Battle Groups or manning the essential functions at Bastion Role 3 Hospital and the other Medical Treatment Facilities across Task Force Helmand.
The Regiment deployed as 3 Squadrons: A, B and Support Squadron. Each Squadron Headquarters is based in Camp Bastion with the Regimental Headquarters. The Regiment commands the UK Medical Group Joint Medical Operations Room and Administrative Cell; both functions also support the Bastion Role 3 Hospital.
Young medics have provided life saving treatment in one of the most austere environments imaginable. Many are conducting two patrols a day whilst carrying both medical and operational kit.
One such medic is Pte Boshier. As a Combat Medical Technician Class 1 and skilled in Battlefield Advanced Trauma Life Support, not only does he provide vital med cover whilst on patrol but also looks after the everyday ailments when back in camp in his primary healthcare role. He will also conduct medical training for his infantry colleagues: a task he takes very seriously.
‘Us medics are very much part of the patrol and infantry skills as well as medical skills have to be up to scratch. It would be a lie to say that the patrols are not sometimes very dangerous or that we are not in an active part of Helmand, but the infantry take good care of the medics knowing that we would be needed if the worst happened.
‘When the worst has happened, the value of the training that we give out to the infantry has been shown. In one particular instance, by the time the casualty reached the medic, the infanteer had already stopped the heavy bleeding and therefore saved his life. Because of events like this I think delivering this training is a particularly satisfying part of being a medic.’
A lesser known role of the Close Support Med means getting physios and dentists out on the ground to ply their trade.
The Role One Rehabilitation Team treats musculo-skeletal problems early in order to keep people on the ground and avoid them being casevaced back to Bastion. The main complaints tend to be shoulder, back and ankle injuries from the hours of arduous patrolling day after day. The RORT teams have been exceptionally busy.
The Dental Dept also deploys forward and sets up a fully functioning dental clinic in the FOBs and PBs. Treatment can range between a simple examination through to minor oral surgeries. Again, treatment in the field alleviates pressure from the casevac chain.