Task Force Orion’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New York Army National Guard, highlights an outstanding member: US Army Staff Sgt. Desirie Carson, a combat medic who is teaching the Armed Forces of Ukraine soldiers how to put on a tourniquet during an “all service member” medical training session in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

US soldiers are no strangers to learning essential skills such as applying tourniquets, opening someone’s airway, and recognizing the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. However, for those in the Ukrainian armed forces, the instruction they receive could be the difference between life and death in the confrontation with Russia.

US troops have been delivering important medical lessons and combat casualty treatment to Ukrainians for almost a year at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany. Even though it is not as renowned as training on weapon systems such as the Patriot missile system or combined arms tactics, medical instruction may have a more direct and immediate influence on the battlefield.

“Just knowing and keeping in the back of our minds that everything we were doing and saying would have that direct impact on their ability to save lives, and to save each other, and to prolong their lives during their fight for their country – it definitely is going to I think stick with us for the rest of our careers,” Sgt. Alexis Ballard, a combat medic, who helped start the medical training program in Germany, told CNN.

Capt. Christina Whitler and Ballard, both AMEDD (Army Medical Education Department) soldiers, were present at a range in May for Ukrainian training with M777 Howitzers. Wanting to help, Whitler communicated with a Ukrainian leader to discover what other assistance they might need.

The solution was obvious: Further medical education.

A significant portion of Ukraine’s current military consists of civilians without prior experience in either military or medical training. 

Combat rescue and medical training are essential elements of military readiness. In a warzone, soldiers face a variety of hazards and medical emergencies. Without adequate rescue and medical training, the lives of friendly forces and civilians are at risk.