LANCE Corporal Michael Davis has recently returned Mali where he was part of a 21-strong training team from 1 Rifles, sent as part of a European Union-led mission to help train the Malian Army.
L/Cpl Davis, 22, who attended Stonehenge School in Amesbury, was the team medic, but as the British soldiers were all very fit, he had time to help teach the Malian soldiers first aid techniques as well.
“My main role was the health and wellbeing of the team,” he said. “I was the team medic but despite the heat and dangers, the guys were all very fit and aware and I was not very busy.”
“I joined with the Austrian Army team, who were responsible for medical training. The Malians had not had any medical training and had virtually no medical equipment. I learned a few French phrases, but mainly worked through an interpreter.”
He taught them improvised medical techniques that needed little or no equipment, like improvised tourniquets and splints.
“I would like to think that they now recognise injuries and deal with them correctly,” he said. “It is good to know that you have actually helped someone through your work.”
During their deployment the team successfully trained two full companies of the Malian Army - more than 300 soldiers in total - in combat and counter insurgency operations as well as more conventional military tactics such as patrolling, guarding bases and reassuring the local population.