After arriving in Logar Province, Afghanistan,
C Company, 125th Brigade Support Battalion,
3d Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT),
was responsible for providing medical support to more
than 3,600 Soldiers spread across 17 operating bases
throughout the Wardak and Logar Provinces. Within
the first 30 days of the deployment, C Company treated
more than 1,400 patients for conditions ranging from
urgent surgery to routine sick call.
During this time, C Company established a medical
compound that included a forward surgical team (FST),
a Jordanian FST, and level II medical assets. The company
also established the brigade medical supply office
to provide the 3d IBCT with more than $800,000 worth
of medical supplies.
|An aeromedevac helicopter drops off a patient.
C Company’s medics conducted more than 50 blood drives, 2 realworld
It also conducted
the battalion’s firstever
course for all nonmedical
learned how to
establish a landing
a 9-line medevac
aid kit familiarization, apply a tourniquet properly,
recognize the signs and symptoms of mild traumatic
brain injuries (mTBIs), and fill out tactical casualty
care cards (formerly known as field medical cards).
C Company also trained its Afghan National Army
partner units on how to execute independent medical
support for their supported units.
Capabilities and Missions
Colocating with the FST, Jordanian
FST, and mTBI clinic on the battlefield
vastly improved C Company’s medical
support to the BCT. The company
became more robust than a normal
level II facility. Radiology and laboratory
capabilities were colocated with
the FST to ensure more effective and
responsive treatment and give the
doctors more insight into injuries. The
facility lacked only a CT-scan machine
to be classified as a level III facility.
Since no Army guidance was available
on how to command or operate such a
robust outfit, after-action reviews were
conducted regularly to ensure that the
lessons learned were captured for future
treats a patient
during sick call.
In addition to working with an already high operating
tempo, C Company had to support different missions,
such as the quick-reaction force, logistics convoys,
and detainee screenings, throughout its deployment.
The different types of operations forced the company’s
leaders to think outside of conventional doctrine to
accomplish these missions. This ensured that the unit
To bridge the cultural gap with the Afghan people, the Army’s new female engagement teams helped
relieve male medics from treating or conversing with
the local Afghan females unless the situation threatened
life, limb, or eyesight. Measures like these made
working relationships better and built on the company’s
counterinsurgency concept. The trust gained from exhibiting
cultural awareness led to fewer attacks on Soldiers,
fostered a more welcoming Afghan community,
and strengthened the information operations campaign.
|Technicians review an x-ray to ensure
that it is usable for the doctor.
C Company’s mission in Afghanistan was to operate
four medical sections—treatment, area support, medical
evacuation, and the headquarters—with the intent to
run 24-hour operations.
The treatment section had 8 to 12 medics working at
any given time, along with a medical provider, a patient
hold representative, patient administration specialists,
a pharmacist, and the mission squad. The area support
section was made up of the physical therapy, dental,
radiology, lab, combat stress, mTBI, and preventive
The medical evacuation section was needed to
provide responsive force health protection to U.S. and
coalition Soldiers and Afghan partners. The headquarters
section consisted of the brigade medical supply
and company supply sections. Together, they supported
over 10,000 coalition force and Afghan National Army
soldiers and contractors serving in the area of operations
One of the most important sections was patient
administration. To ensure 100-percent accuracy in tracking patients, all patients came through this section
to be screened before seeing any provider. Two patient
administration specialists were responsible for tracking
all brigade personnel; they quickly became a very valued
asset. They worked 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day,
7 days a week, and they were called in for every medical
evacuation that involved a coalition Soldier, contractor,
or local national. All information they gathered
was sent to the brigade surgeon cell and disseminated
to all units within the AO.
Along with providing care on a daily basis, C Company
was tasked with providing medical care for
logistics convoys to outlying forward operating bases.
The convoy teams were made up of two medics: one
dismounted medic who could exit the vehicle to provide
care at a moment’s notice and a second medic who
was on standby. With the unit averaging two to three
convoy missions per week, the mission squad was often
left with only two medics to conduct day-to-day tasks.
The physical therapist assigned to C Company often
conducted a battlefield circulation, visiting every location
in the AO over a period of 3 weeks. The need for
physical therapy was so great at some locations that the
therapist often stayed for extended periods. To maintain
continuous care, the physical therapy technician, a
cross-trained Soldier in military occupational specialty
68W (healthcare specialist), remained at the aid station
to ensure that all patients received the highest level of
|A forward surgical
team stabilizes an
The personnel in the preventive medicine section
spent most of their
time on the road making
monthly visits to
each major forward
operating base. They
also traveled to each
combat outpost to ensure
that all Soldiers
were living and working
in healthy conditions.
In addition to
providing care to U.S.
Soldiers, they conducted
local villages and Afghan
Because of the
large amount of equipment required to provide dental services and the
mobility issues and power requirements associated with
that equipment, the dental team was primarily assigned
to the aid station. This team traveled only on a limited
basis with limited tools, mainly to provide basic dental
services and dental care classes.
Four sections that normally are not part of C Company’s
modified table of organization and equipment— mTBI, FST, Jordanian FST, and aeromedevac—made
the company unique. These sections were combat
multipliers for C Company and the 3d IBCT. After C
Company’s relief in place, the mTBI clinic treated 961
patients, 349 of whom returned to duty.
The mTBI section was an important commodity in
the forward fight. Being colocated with a combat stress
team enabled the unit to provide oversight for suicidal
and depressed patients around the clock. Without this
capability, Soldiers would have had to be evacuated to
a location with a higher level of care, taking them out
of the fight for at least a week because of travel time
and reducing their units’ efficiency.
|The C Company tactical operations center serves as the central point for all battlefield tracking.
The mTBI team was a mobile commodity that could
be at any location within 24 hours of an event. The
standard operating procedure specified that all Soldiers
exposed to a blast must be cleared by the mTBI team.
This not only protected the Soldiers’ near-term health
but also protected them from possible future complications.
Having the aeromedevac capabilities colocated increased
communication, created better working relationships,
and aided in training. Patient loads can be a
major issue for rotary-wing aircraft. Having both units
located in the same AO created an advantage for coldstart
training events, which improved load times and
simplified patient-weight distribution.
During medevacs, Soldiers at the point of injury often
sent false reports because of heightened emotions;
having a great working relationship often became an
asset. Once the pilots and in-flight medics arrived at the
site, they relayed accurate information to C Company,
which led to better medical services and treatment.
C Company is a prime example of how the Army
Medical Department is constantly changing and
adapting to the challenges faced by today’s Soldiers.
It proves that the Army’s medical community is truly
committed to preserving the fighting strength of our