NATO’s Special Operations Combat Medical Course (NSOCM)

Medics carry simulated wounded during combat lifesaver training at NATO ISTC NSOCM Course (Photo Credit: Jason Johnston).
Medics carry simulated wounded during combat lifesaver training at NATO ISTC (Photo Credit: Jason Johnston).

A NATO Special Operations Combat Medical Course – NSOCM -has been established at the NATO International Special Training Center (ISTC) in Pfullendorf, Germany. This 22-week course takes special operations forces troops who have basic combat lifesaver skills and further train them to be combat medics who are able to sustain casualties up to 36 hours.

The new medic course will cover over 170 critical tasks in a variety of medical situations to include trauma, non-trauma, injuries, illnesses, and other conditions that require initial medical treatment and care for a wounded, sick, or injured patient on the battlefield.

The NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) provides oversight of the NSOCM to ensure that ISTC is fulfilling the training required for NATO SOF. Many SOF operations preclude the ability of special operators to receive advance care during the first ‘golden hour’ since aerial MEDEVAC capabilities do not always exist in some of the more remote SOF operational areas. SOF deployments usually involve longer medical evacuation times and limited medical resources during deployments.

Combat Pistol Shooting at ISTC Range (Photo ISTC Flickr).
Combat Pistol Shooting at ISTC Range (Photo ISTC Flickr).

The International Special Training Center (ISTC) in Germany provides centralized training for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s special operations forces. The training institution dates back to 1974 when a site was needed for centralized training for NATO Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) and Special Forces units. Although the school has seen several name changes and training locations the mission has remained essentially the same. The ISTC is co-located in the same barracks – Staufer Kaserne – as the German national Special Operations Centre (SOTC).

Courses offered at the ISTC include “Military Assistance Course”, “SOTG Operations Planning Course”, “Conduct After Capture Course”, various medical courses, combat marksmanship, CQB, and sniper courses.

Read more in “ISTC launches NATO Special Operations Combat Medical Course”Army.mil, October 5, 2016.

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