Soldiers get hands on training at Golden Coyote

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The South Dakota Army National Guard is currently hosting it’s 37th Golden Coyote training exercise, an opportunity for more than 2,000 military members to get hands on training.

Golden Coyote brings soldiers from nine states across the country, and one U.S. Territory for firearm, and lifesaving training. Although not mutually exclusive, all of the training prepares soldiers for service abroad.

The firearm simulation training qualifies members on the M-4, and is a cost effective solution as ammunition is not needed. It is also a great practice ahead of live firing at a range, but a larger focus is lifesaving training for non-medics.

“Military medical is a lot different than civilian medical.” said army medic, Sgt. Daniel Allard. “We do have different scopes of practices. They have learned how to apply a tourniquet within seconds to be able to stop any massive hemorrhage. They’ve been able to identify what needs a tourniquet vs a pressure dressing. How to load a patient onto a litter to be able to transport them to a safe area. How to safely get a patient from a hazardous area to a safer area, in just seconds.”

Those who took part in the training consider it to be invaluable, and feel they are better prepared for medical emergencies in both the military and civilian world.

“Even though my specialty is information technology, 25 bravo,” said Illinois guardsman, Darrin Hill. “I could be on convoys, I could be out there on missions, and things could go wrong, and a medical personnel could not be available for minutes to hours. And it’s better for us to be able to provide first aid and be able to take care of one another to save lives and just preserve the mission.”

“This course gives you more confidence as a non-medic when you get out there to further diagnose and assess the casualty to know what to do,” said fellow Illinois guardsman, Umar Fayyaz.

“You never know what can happen,” said Lt. Brittney Traveis of the U.S. Navy. ‘A Humvee fall on someone, or crush injuries do happen. And so to be able to provide that self aid buddy aid to your partners, your ship mates, your fellow sailors, is just completely invaluable.”

The Perform Immediate Lifesaving Measures lane, or PILM, allows members to put that training into practice. With ominous music playing over loud speakers and players in turbans, it looked like a scene from a movie, but was just another opportunity for soldiers to practice situational awareness, their firing, and save lives. Trainers used paintball guns, to simulate enemy fire, allowing members to use their training to save and evacuate fallen members. It all culminated with a Humvee rescue. 

“Definitely your pulse races a little, your adrenaline gets going,” said Anthony Thooft, a SD guardsman. “And that’s another thing you learn as well, you learn how to either keep that in check or how to utilize it to help you tackle whatever training or mission you’re handed.”

“And were you one of the casualties?,” Dominique Smith.

“Yes, I was the first casualty,” said Thooft. “Still not sure why exactly, but maybe that will be made clear in the future.”

The PILM  has been a popular training spot, and has been rated number 1 in the country for the past six years, but putting aside the long and hard training, it is ultimately a time to build camaraderie with different units.

“It’s a great opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion,” said SD guardsman and trainer, Cory Ann Ellis. “To bring in different cultures. The United States is the United States, but we still have many cultures and many perspectives throughout, and to bring them here to South Dakota is great for our soldiers to intermingle and within themselves as well.”

The exercise will continue through the 26th of June.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News