05 October 2009

R&R is over

Leaving always sucks. Having to leave agains sucks even harder. But, I enjoyed myself. Ot felt good to be with my wife and kids again. It was very Zen.

04 September 2009


As promised here is a product review for both. I have not had the luxury of getting my hands on the SKEDCO set. Quite possibly, it is due to the price difference. MSRP for the WALK is $1,500.49, while the SKEDCO (the cheapest one) comes in at $2,106.82. So cost effectiveness dictates that the WALK be in the Army system.

Reviewing the contents and packing side by side, I'd say both are equal. They come packed with trauma supplies (click on specifications), for multiple casualty management. Although, both are basic equipment with recommendations for additional supplies. They both also have configurations that carry a litter, with the the WALK coming in at 29 lb 15 oz, and the SKEDCO a beefy 38 and 50 for it's two respective variants.

For casevac purposes, the SKEDCO has more variation for sure, while the WALK is specifically designed around the Talon II litter. The SKEDCO carries both a Ranger SKED and a "quad-fold litter". Also, the SKED brings with it a great deal more flexibility by including the carabiners and various straps. While I'm sure this is what contributes to the significant weight difference, if it isn't being carried on the ground, then the flexibility is a plus.

The SKED also comes with more Medic goodies, like the Knife, Extreme Medicine®/Rescue , which I own and will review later, as well as an LED Headlight, etc.

It wouldn't be fair for me to pass judgement on the SKEDCO, since I haven't actually used it. As noted above, it's bigger and beefier, with more flexibility in evac configurations, although the size may hamper its deployability. OTOH, the Talon II is notorious for being stiff and a pain in the ass right out of the bag, and unfortunately, if we're honest, we don't take them out and exercise them enough. One thing I like about the SKEDCO, just from it's packing list, is it has a more signal marking equipment included, while the WALK only comes with an aviation panel. The SKEDCO looks like a nice piece of equipment and I'm sure it would do the job.

The Army chose the WALK as the one to put in it's supply system; and it does it's job. I only had to include some extra equipment to feel happy about it. I took out the hypothermia blankets and replaced it with a marking kit (smoke, signal flare, and the aviation panel). I placed an IV set with both ringers and Hextend in an outside pocket. On the front pockets, I added a few Hyfins and some Combat Gauze. The big thing is that I took a red permanent marker and marked what was each pocket. I treat each WALK as a comprehensive kit for one patient, and as a secondary go to bag. If the WALK comes out of the vehicle, then we've made a deliberate decision for Air Medevac and the configuration is based on managing that one casualty.

Overall, I like the WALK. It's simple with more than enough room to carry what you need. By no means is this a dismount bag and should not be carried on a foot patrol. But, don't make the mistake of packing it to the gills either. It completes the task it was designed to do and needs very little modification. The Army made a good choice on this one.

19 August 2009


I mentioned earlier that I would be highlighting some gear from SKEDCO that I felt was worthy of a more in depth look. FYI, the link takes you directly to the SKEDCO military sales page, not just the generic home page.

The items that have caught my attention are:

The Field Expedient Bleeding Simulation System (FEBSS)
Knife, Extreme Medicine®/Rescue
Combat I.V. Pak™ 500cc
SKEDCO WarFighter Utility Knife

The knives I plan on discussing in a larger post about the various knives and rescue hooks that a Combat Medic should probably focus on. The evac kit requires a little more investigation. I'd like to be able to compare it to the WALK from NARP.

The FEBSS looks interesting and definately is in need of it's own post. And the Combat IV Pak looks like and overpriced infuser. But I'm willing to try anything that makes my job easier.

So all that aside, Basically I'm saying that I'm not going to discuss these particular pieces of equipment in any detail right now. What I do want to talk about is the classic SKED. I mentioned in the earlier post that everyone hates it. It's versatile, it's somewhat easy to put together, and it's easy to move. But, it's a pain to carry around and makes you curse God trying to put it away. Well, throughout the course of my career, I've grown to actually appreciate what it can be used for. For one, it is easily the most versatile litter in the Army's inventory. Also, it gives one man the capability to evac a Soldier. I guess what I'm saying is that next time you're preparing for a CLS Class, take a minute and actually break out the instructions on the SKED and learn how to use it in its various incarnations. It really is a good learning experience.

If anyone has any experience with the aforementioned equipment, please leave a comment. Also, in the future, I plan on writing a post on my personal TTP's and whatnot, so if you have anything to add in that vein, leave a comment. Like I said, I'm always looking for new ways to do stuff.

I'm Back

Mostly I've been lazy, but also I haven't had a whole lot of new equipment to talk about. I am still in Iraq, with a MTT Team, and find myself with more time so I can stop neglecting this project.

As has been noticed, I'm sure, I really like North American Rescue Products. It's good quality stuff, and packaged well to make them easy to use, and a lifesaver when speed is essential. Plus, they have a lot of NSN's making it east to order them. One company we overlook, though, is SKEDCO. We all hate the SKED. Yeah it works and it's versatile, but carrying it is a bitch. Recently, I've started visiting the site though and looking at their other gear. So hopefully, in the next few days, I can provide some product reviews.

Also, I've worked out a good dismount rig for a medic. I posted a few months ago about the awesomeness of the M9 Aid Aid Bag. Unfortunately, it's not an easy piece of equipment to get ahold of. Then it hit me one day: an IFAK has everything I need to treat one casualty. So how do I get a few of those on me, with all the ammo and other stuff.

I acquired a drop leg panel, usually used for more ammo or a dump pouch. I attached 2 IFAKs to it and modified those a bit. The normal IFAK doesn't come with a 14g needle for Needle Decompression. I added that and replaced the compressed gauze with QuikClot's Combat Gauze, and added a Hyfin Chest Dressing. So that's two on my body (not including mine) and then I threw 2 more in my MULE Camelbak and there you go. A lightweight way to carry enough gear to treat 4 casualties on the ground.

06 April 2009


I see that I have a follower, which is really cool, so I didn't want anyone to think I had abandoned this project. I am currently in Kuwait, getting ready to go to Iraq as part of a MiTT Team. Hopefully, I'll get settled in the next few weeks and can start posting again.

02 February 2009

Hemostatic Agents

Before I start, if there is anyone who checks this out with any kind of regularity, I apologize. I am currently training for another deployment and just haven't been in the mood to post.

Hemostatic agents have truly become a battlefield force multiplier by themselves. In the hands of a good Combat Medic, the use of hemostatic agents can literally mean the difference between life and death.

So, the problems with Quikclot are well documented; it caused 2nd degree burns and would harden to the point that the surgeons had to literally chip it out of the wound cavity, causing more damage to the patient. So, now we've moved well beyond that. We have the HemCon bandage. I've never had an opportunity to use it, thankfully. I'm not sure I'd care for it to much, as I don't want to take the time to cut it down to size to fit over the wound.

The two agents I've used and really liked are Wound Stat and Combat Gauze.

The Wound Stat is a mineral based formula that looks a lot like kitty litter. When you start pouring it into the wound, it takes the consistency of wet kitty litter. But, the stuff molds like play doh. You just keep pouring onto the wound and molding, with pressure, and it will stop the bleeding. Now recently, the Army has decided to stop using it and pull it from the Medics. Supposedly, someone is concerned that some of the granules can make its way into the blood stream and cause an embolism. Personally, I think it's crap. If that is the reason it was pulled, I have not heard a single documented instance where that happenned. The stuff works. I like it and hopefully the Army will start using it again.

Quikclot's Combat Gauze is another product that is a must have. One of the things we tend to do is stuff a wound cavity full of kerlex and wrap it tight, so why not build on that with a hemostatic agent? That's what Quikclot did and it is bad ass. You just shove it into the wound and hold pressure for 3-4 minutes and then wrap it up tight with your emergency bandage or an ace wrap. This stuff works. I swear by it and have used it. An aid bag without it is incomplete.

In the end, whether you prefer to use the emergency bandage or or ace wraps or whatever, hemostatic agents are a must have on today's battlefield. Learn to use them and apply them.

11 January 2009

I apologize

I've been doing some training lately and just been busy. I will start posting again soon. If you have something you want me to research, leave it in the comments.