Combat training for elite military medics

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7 Medical Battalion Group (7 Med Bn Gp) of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) is responsible for supporting airborne elements of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). This translates into combat ready personnel with the added extra of parachute wings.

Among units which the Centurion-headquartered medical battalion group stand ready to support with healthcare ranging from combat and explosive wounds through to the more mundane such as poisonous insect and snake bites are Special Forces Brigade as well as 44 Parachute Regiment, 6 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion for air-landed missions and 9 SAI for sea-landed Lieutenant Thabo Tukula writes in the latest SAHMS News.

To be able to do their work efficiently under sometimes hazardous and life-threatening conditions means 7 Med Bn Gp personnel have to perform to the same standard as the soldiers they go into combat with. This entails a combat training cycle at the SA Army Infantry School in Oudtshoorn.

Individual phase 2 training sees the elite military medics work at battle support in rural operations, chemical biological radiation defence, combat life support, demolitions awareness and fighting in built-up areas (FUBA) are all components of the year-long combat training cycle.

Major Lebohang Tsamela, 7 Med Bn Gp, is in charge of this course. She is
currently supervising 13 elite military medics on the training cycle at the Western Cape military training facility.

Individual phase 2 training, a follow-up to basic military training (BMT) includes components of infantry training such as immediate action drills, foreign weapons and section leader commands. This training also provides advanced weapon skills to the 7 Med Bn Gp Medics for use when they are tasked to support special, airborne and maritime forces.

Elaborating, Tukula writes SAHMS has to adapt to the changing nature of warfare if it is to fulfil its operational health support mandate. The service must also be prepared for other tasks, including humanitarian relief and disaster response, at home, continentally and even internationally.

7 Med Bn Gp was established in 1984 and continues to function as the tip of the spear for the SAMHS with the current combat training cycle ensuring the spear remains sharp according to Tukula



7 Med Bn Gp is one of eight groups either established or operated in the then SA Medical Service (SAMS) of the SANDF’s predecessor the SA Defence Force (SADF). SAMS was active from 1979 to 1994.