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Sgt. Doc Teaches Iraqi Soldiers First Aid

CAMP EAGLE, Baghdad, Iraq –Teaching under the best of circumstances can be challenging. But throw in a foreign language and culture, and it could be downright impossible. For Staff Sgt. Timothy Frock, Headquarters Company, medical platoon, 1st Battalion 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, it’s a childhood dream.
Frock, a native of Philadelphia, is a medical adviser attached to the 305th Battalion Iraqi National Guard medical platoon. His students call him “Sergeant Doc.”
“As a medical adviser I work hand in hand with the ING medical platoon personnel as an instructor,” Frock said. “My job is to help build these volunteers into a medical unit along [with teaching] Army standards to include accountability of Soldiers and equipment, how to instill discipline and lead troops.”
When Frock first started working with the ING back in April, he didn’t have much to work with and had to start from scratch. Most of the medical knowledge the Soldiers had was what they got from their doctor, who was more like a paramedic.
Since that time, Frock has been able to teach the Iraqis a lot of things that he has taught his own Soldiers, like basic first aid and combat lifesaver techniques and they have been able to adapt from there.
“A lot of these guys are just coming in off the street with no previous medical knowledge or training, so we had to start from step one teaching them the basics of anatomy and physiology, how to treat wounds and basic problems you might see during sick call,” he said.
According to Frock, who has spent the last six years in the Army as a medic, training the Iraqis has been a continual molding process because of the turnover rate for the ING. But, as a result, they’ve been able to promote those who have stayed and now have a pretty solid core committed to what they are doing.
“Building this medical platoon is a continual work in progress, but they have really come along since I started here,” Frock said. “They have gone from a disorganized group with limited medical knowledge to a more organized and trained body of Soldiers who can now go on missions and give first aid to the wounded.”
Frock attributes the Iraqis motivation for learning to several factors.
“Currently, we are sending our medics through a Combat Life Saver [CLS] course. The class has been translated into Arabic and they have both Arabic and American instructors, so they learn exactly the same thing we learn in our CLS program,” Frock said.
During the classes, Frock said his pupils are very attentive and open to new ideas. “I tell a lot of the green recruits that they’re not just learning something they can use on the job, but that they can take this training home with them to help their families,” he said. “I think my personality and my training as a medic has helped me a lot in being able to work with the Iraqis. Because I care a lot about what I am doing here. If something happen to one of the Soldiers here, I worry and they can see that I care about what happens to them and they care about me.”
“Sgt. Doc is like family. He is also my very good friend, and he makes learning easy,” said Lt. Ali, 305th Bn., ING, medical platoon physician’s assistant said.
In addition to working with the ING on a daily basis, Frock is equally committed to his own Soldiers in his medical platoon.”When I’m done here at the end of the day, I usually work up at our aid station with my guys as much as possible. I like to keep the interaction with my guys because working here as an adviser you can get detached,” Frock said. “I always want my Soldiers to realize that they are my first priority. If I’m not at the aid station, then I try to hang out with them in the barracks and watch movies or something.”
Frock, who is married and a father of two, plans on making the Army a career, but has other plans when he retires.
“At one point I thought about becoming a [physician’s assistant] but I changed my mind because I love being a [noncommissioned officer]. As an NCO I get to work directly with the Soldiers and that’s where I want to be,” Frock said. “When I retire from the military I want to be a history teacher.”
As for now, he remains committed to his current assignment and is grateful for the opportunity to serve.
“Before I leave here I hope to have a well-oiled machine up and running, to include a core group that can train the new Soldiers coming in. I want them to feel comfortable with the training they have received when they are down with the line companies and for the companies to trust they are getting the best first aid possible, Frock said. Frock said he is glad to have had the opportunity to work with the ING. “It has shown me another side to just being here,” he said. “It has shown me some of the good things about this country, like the people I work with. It’s not just about the people who want to shoot at us all the time.”

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