I recently attended the JTM SOF Medic Refresher. I was given an option of medical course to attend and I primarily chose JTM because they were the only one to provide the Paramedic Refresher Course that I need to recertify my EMT-P. Surprisingly I found that they also offer the best “tactical medical” course I’ve ever witnessed, a claim I can make with some justification. I graduated the 18D course in May 1991 so I have been exposed to numerous “Traveling Goat Show” ATLS courses, been an instructor for the SOMTB, OEMS, TMI and assisted when the Medical School of Georgia started training the basic EMT course to the FBI’s HRT. While these courses are impressive in their own rights, they don’t fully meet the definition of teaching “tactical” medicine. OEMS, for example, is an advanced “operational” medical course that certainly melded my Pre Med degree and my 18D training but any “tactical” offered is merely theory. JTM has a completely different approach and the “care under fire” portion takes on a life of its own and this is what separates JTM Las Vegas from the other TCCC course out there. A significant number of the field training exercises (FTX) were executed with rapid-fire paintball guns. Forget the perception of a bunch of overweight civilian bubbas playing weekend Rambo because these scenarios are no joke. Throw in a little friendly inter-service rivalry and a whole lot of personal pride from a bunch of competitive, Type-A “Mission Oriented” SOF soldiers with unit reputations to protect and you get Marcus Welby in a Wild West version of a Texas Cage Match. One of the most innovative practical exercises I have ever participated in was the “Box of Death”. During this exercise (which the details of I choose not to divulge not only for the sake of brevity but also to allow subsequent classes to fully benefit from this unique training experience) each two man team was rotated through a series of scenarios requiring them to fight the way to their patients, develop and implement a plan of action to treat and recover the patients while under fire. This realism under physically and mentally demanding conditions is the keystone of the JTM SOF Medic Refresher. The students have immediate feedback regarding mission success or failure with these types of scenarios. “Scene Safe” is not just a prerequisite catch phrase. Another outstanding practical exercise was the Sensory Deprivation Scenario: This involves patient assessment, treatment and recovery in an environment of low light, high noise and other simultaneous distracters. This is 45 minutes of chaos while being cold and wet absolutely contrasts with other medical courses that always place the simulated casualty in a supine “Vince Foster” position. Requiring medics to operate in a realistic “Murphy’s Law” environment with multiple casualties reiterates and reinforces adherence to sequential assessment. Another aspect of the JTM is that it is a “run what ya brung” course. Theory and discussion both have a place in medicine but not in the tactical setting. At JTM you can provide any treatment you want as long as you have the equipment and can demonstrate you know how to use it. Prior planning and preparation are essential for real World mission success therefore it is also essential for JTM scenario success. What makes JTM such a success is of course the Instructor staff and a vetted student body. JTM is owned and managed by a former PJ who has instilled the mindset that this course is made up of and designed for soldiers going to hostile ground to rescue their brothers and sisters in arms. The entire staff, which includes paramedic instructors, JSOC Physicians and firearms instructors, are subject matter experts with the intent to fully prepare personnel going into harm’s way. Not only did I receive the latest updates in tactical medicine from lessons learned in the sandbox, the lessons were presented in a captivating and challenging manner. Adding to the learning experience was the interaction of all members of the class who came from diversified military and contractor backgrounds with recent real world experience. Because this course is designed for those with significant tactical and medical backgrounds, it proved to be both challenging and interesting throughout and I highly recommend it.
SOF MEDIC/NREMT Paramedic, Name withheld