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Recruit School #11: Week 13

Oct. 2-7, 2022

Author: CO recruit writer

At the beginning of each week we get a small hint or some sort of clue about what we will be doing that week. This week was all about first aid, and I was very excited about it because I have a medical degree. Being one of the oldest and the only woman in the academy, while also being a wife and mom, brings its own challenges, yet each new week reminds me of just how strong I truly am. Leaving my family every Sunday is extremely hard, but once I get to the academy my game face comes on and I mentally prepare myself for the week. Every Sunday evening, my classmates and I ensure we are ready to take on the week.

recruit providing first aid to injured man sitting against a tree during a training scenario

Photo caption: During a first-aid scenario, recruits had to assess actors who were wearing fake wounds. Actors were able to pump theatrical blood from their wounds, which recruits had to locate and properly tend to. Once the recruit provided the appropriate first aid, the blood would stop pumping.

Monday, we started with a run around the track before the sun was up, a workout the instructors like to call “rabbits and wolves.” The fast runners are the wolves and the slow runners are the rabbits. While running around the track, the wolves tag the rabbits. When a rabbit is tagged, they have to turn around and start their run from the beginning. After physical training we have breakfast and inspection followed by our classes.

All recruits have strengths and weaknesses. First aid is a strength of mine. I made sure to help my brothers as much as possible to ensure they did well too. We went through CPR and automatic external defibrillator training, including some scenarios that allowed us to gain simulated real-life experiences.

people standing along edge of indoor swimming pool; three people swimming in water

Photo caption: Recruits stand in two, single file lines and listen to instruction before diving into the pool to swim laps for physical training.

Tuesday started with tank (pool) physical training. Despite being a rescue swimmer in the Navy, the tank is always a good workout for me and brings its own challenges – whether treading water while holding bricks over our heads or doing deep water pushups. During first-aid training, we learned about tissue injuries, tourniquets and medical emergencies and how to face them in order to help someone efficiently. Conservation officers are often the first emergency responders to arrive at the scenes of off-road vehicle and snowmobile accidents. They also respond to vehicle accidents and many other types of life-threatening events where they need to know how to administer first aid until paramedics arrive.

recruit providing first aid to an injured persons leg during a training scenario

Photo caption: A person wears theatrical props to mimic injuries that allow recruits to gain real-life experience practicing first aid.

Wednesday’s physical training involved relay races, which always help bring us together as a team. We normally start competing together but there is never a winner because whoever finishes first always goes out to help the remaining recruits. This was followed by basic tactical medical training, a new subject for me. I was never in a combat scenario in the military, so learning techniques to provide first aid while under fire was new and educational. This type of training may help us one day in the field. Knowing what we need to do will give us an advantage and could even save our lives.

Recruit dragging training prop actor across the grass during a scenario

Photo caption: After providing first aid to injured actors at two different stations, recruits complete a scenario by dragging a prop actor.

Thursday, physical training took place in the gym where we did circuit training consisting of rowers and a variety of pushups and pullups. I enjoy circuit workouts because it’s what I did before I came to the academy. Physical training was followed by the normal chow (breakfast) and inspection. For class, we completed first-aid scenarios, which involved packing wounds and utilizing a chest seal. The class had to determine what technique to use based on the victim’s injury and address it quickly and methodically. The instructors have always told us, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” and I don’t think a lot of us understood that until this week while doing first aid.

Friday was our final day of first aid. Before wrapping up the week, we swam laps and performed deep-water pushups, which was a great workout. The rest of the day consisted of a first-aid written exam and packing our bags for the following week in Roscommon. Our first-aid instructors CO Casey Pullum, Cpl. Pat Hartsig, CO Dan Robinson and CO Kyle Bucholtz led us well and taught us some solid first-aid skills to carry with us while in the field. I believe the entire class left this week more confident and knowledgeable in our skills and ready to tackle the next week as a team.

Read Week 14.