A Company of 13 strong composed of four fathers and four sons, forming a Platoon of eight along with five Cadre, came to the International ALERT Academy in Big Sandy, for a week of leadership training September 13-18, 2021 focused on Take Initiative. When you see a need, take initiative, don’t wait for someone else to respond first. No less than ten emergency scenarios were built-in to the week to enhance leadership skills in fathers and sons by promoting a servant’s heart to be more ready, willing, and able to respond even when these crises occurred at inconvenient times.
Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Bilodeau with Sgt. Brandon Lowman provided excellent leadership through these emergency scenarios that were conducted with remarkable realism to increase learning readiness. These simulated crises required the Platoon to quickly collect relevant facts, develop a plan, secure necessary first- responder equipment and supplies, and chart a course for a search for the victim(s) using learned orienteering skills. On the way to the scene and upon arriving on scene, the Platoon had to work as a team delegating responsibilities, observing and securing scene safety, communicating in the field with two-way radios (using proper protocol), and triaging victims. Using personal protective equipment (PPE), the Platoon performed patient assessments, determined alertness of the victim(s), transferred vital information to a 911 dispatcher, applied tourniquets when needed, applied pressure to stop serious bleeding and packed wounds, performed CPR and AED as needed, and where needed holding c-spine for emergency movement of the patient. These first responders provided other emergency first aid in anticipation of transferring the patient to professional responders. They learned how to provide physical, emotional and spiritual comfort.
Each skill expected was first taught and demonstrated to the Platoon prior to each scenario. After Action Assessment reinforced the learning. In addition, Sawyer safety, Incident Command System, making and using Swiss Seats for river crossing and repelling, experience leading the Platoon, and developing a strategy for a lost person search (physically and spiritually) was presented with appropriate oral and written testing combined with field observation.
Six members of the Platoon received the LTC Camp Participation Award and Crisis Response Training Award for their first time. The greater reward was the week of fathers and sons growing together. A highlight occurred on Saturday evening while the Company sat in a circle and one by one a father or son began spontaneously sharing their respect and value of their respective son or father. Not one eye escaped being filled with tears of gratitude – a true manifestation of Malachi 4:6.
Submitted by Maj. Michael Smith, Camp Commander