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New training mannequins bleed, breathe, move, and scream

All to help soldiers save lives

Soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia, train one another on using the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable (TC3X) system, a medical trauma training mannequin, Oct. 4. Photo credit: Patrick Albright

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Personnel from the office of the Program Executive Officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, or PEO STRI, brought new technologically advanced medical training mannequins to Fort Benning, Oct. 1, to increase the realism of medical trauma training and ultimately save lives and limbs.

The mannequin, which is called a Tactical Combat Casualty Care Exportable, or TC3X, can scream, breathe, bleed and move, and it has arteries, lungs and a blivet for storing fake blood when the mannequin bleeds.

John Matthews, an assistant program manager for PEO STRI, specializes in training combat medics within the Army so they can use PEO STRI's medical training technology. He said the new mannequin can help re-create the stress medics may face in the field.

"The realism of it creates that white-knuckle sensation and adrenalin for the soldier," said Matthews. "So when this actually happens in real life, he (the soldier) doesn't phase or lock up. He's able to go through the motions, the training that he learned, and save the soldier's life or limb."

Previous medical trauma training mannequins would have moulage, or prosthetic injury simulations, placed on it to show a bloody wound, a chemical burn, an infection or more. The soldier would treat the mannequin -- occasionally addressing the instructor, who watches the soldier as they provide treatment -- by narrating what steps they are taking to treat the wounded.

"In the case of a real injury, they would be talking to the patient -- to the soldier," said Matthews. "This system, this mannequin, actually has a two-way radio built into the head to where the instructor's 50 yards away acting as the patient, saying ‘My chest hurts! My chest hurts! What happened to my leg? Save me! Where's my leg?'"

Not only does the TC3X simulate the pulmonary and respiratory systems of a human being, but sensors on the mannequin provide data to the instructor or observer. The instructor or observer can then use that data to provide thorough feedback to the soldier on their performance.

"They can go back and do an after-action review with the soldier, pointing out the idiosyncrasies, where he failed or where he did good," said Matthews. "And then they can hit the reset button on the mannequin and go through it again."

As part of placing the TC3X systems at a new location, contractors train the medical combat soldiers on how to use the system and how to train others on using the system. Then the medical combat soldiers train other soldiers.

So far, PEO STRI has fielded the TC3X at five other locations. Their plan is to place 77 TC3X systems at 41 locations within the Army. Initially, Fort Benning is due to have three, but once they have TC3X systems at as many locations as possible, they will expand the number of systems at each location. Fort Benning is set to have 11 systems in total, according to Matthews.

"Fort Benning is particularly important to us because it's a basic training site," he said.

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