NDAA Clause Undermines SOF Medic Training

Then-PV2 Ron Westervelt, 12th SFG(A), in team live tissue training, March 1967.

Then-PV2 Ron Westervelt, 12th SFG(A), in team live tissue training, March 1967.

Since their salad days protesting the Vietnam War, the militant left has worked to undermine the US military. They recently scored a major victory by sneaking a clause into the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 that mandates an end to live tissue training for SOF medics and military trauma physicians.

Because it is controversial, the military seldom speaks about live tissue training, in which anasthetized animals are subject to various ailments and, particularly, trauma, that SOF medics can expect to encounter. The lab once used dogs, and later goats; you can date an SF medic by whether he went to “Dog Lab” or “Goat Lab.” The docs don’t talk about it, either, because they have always known this vital training tool is one public outcry away from being yanked.

In the end, it wasn’t a public outcry; it was a backroom deal in that cesspool of Third World corruption, the Congress of the United States. The language was reportedly inserted in the NDAA by a PETA-connected staffer of a single member of the conference committee, and was never publicly discussed or voted on. Most Members did not know it was there. With vital military funds hinging on the vote, they probably would have held their noses and voted for it anyway, but they didn’t even get that chance. The unelected staffer and the Member that employs same kept their secret until it was the law of the land.

We have seen the near-magic skills of the SOF medic, at work on us, our indigenous allies, and our teammates. We’ve seen the result: “Mike,” who was devastated by an IED — his third PH — but runs a business and saw his daughters graduate after being written off as dead, “Rich,” who took a round that penetrated his cranium and crossed through his brain, fragmenting as it  went, but who kept his marbles, his sense of humor, and his love of life; “Steve,” who was back in command days after a bullet he could have bled out from.

These guys would be full names on a memorial, without SOF medics, and specifically without 300-F1 and Med Lab. They would be absent husbands and fathers without Med Lab and live tissue training. And that’s what PETA and their Congressional tools want. That’s what their media cheerleaders want (we’re looking at you, Sharon Weinberger of Wired). To them, more deaths of SOF troops are not a bug, but a feature.

God damn them to hell. Goats save lives. Politicians throw them away.


About a year ago, SOFREP ran an excellent article on med lab and live tissue training. It was by the late Glen Doherty, a former SEAL whose life was thrown away by politicians in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. For the record, the bill that Glen was concerned about is not what happened here. What happened here is that Filner’s anti-military language was clandestinely jammed into the bill and kept secret through the vote. So they have their shot at bashing the medics (and their patients) but they don’t have their fingerprints on it. God damn them all to hell.


Filner, a Vietnam War draft dodger who somehow thinks sending some poor kid in his place makes him a voice of veterans (who are, in his reading, all welfare cases needing his tender ministrations), left Congress in 2012. Just at the time the story of how he assaulted a woman in 2007 crept back into the news. (Felony charges lodged at the time were plea-bargained down to a $100 fine and an insincere apology for “raising [his] voice”. As so often with Congressmen behaving badly, the fix was in — don’t expect the same crooked prosecutor to offer you that deal). The lady-beater didn’t leave politics, though: he’s now mayor of Sad Diego. It’s unknown if Filner was responsible for the last-minute NDAA hack, but the med-lab issue was one of the few he pursued while grifting his way through Congress.

6 thoughts on “NDAA Clause Undermines SOF Medic Training

  1. GBS

    I suggest there are viable alternatives to using goats for live tissue training; the first choice being PETA-connected Congressional staffers. If critters must be sacrificed to save others, then take the Congress-critters before the poor goat!

  2. McThag

    It’s even more realistic training since a PETA-Connected Congressional Staffer has a more similar anatomy to a human than a goat!

  3. Medic09

    This is sad and infuriating. Beyond book knowledge and manual skill training, the single factor that most differentiates between a good clinician and an excellent one is experience. Live tissue lab provides some of that experience before the medic even hits the field, and helps maintain and/or refine his skills during his career. Cadaver tissue or simulations cannot substitute for real, live, responding animal tissue. Medical residents have a few years to gather experiences on live human patients. Combat medics haven’t the time or enough opportunities. Live tissue lab is the next best thing.

    Clinicians in the city, even in a battalion level medical team, can always pass off to someone better when faced with a difficult patient. The Special Forces medic, and other small team medics, can’t do that. It all rests on their shoulders. The real beneficiary of live tissue lab isn’t the medic – it’s his critically wounded patient who has one chance to continue living, deposited in the medic’s hands. Doing away with live tissue/live animal lab is tantamount to signing a death warrant for some of those wounded soldiers or civilians who might otherwise be saved by a medic who had already had a chance to practice relatively rare life-saving procedures.

    The people who pulled off this maneuver have no idea how mortally irresponsible they are.

    1. Hognose Post author

      There is no stress like the stress of a living patient whose pulse is going thready on you. Nothing like real blood and real veins and nerves, and the consequences of injuring them. None of the multi-million-dollar simulators the animal rights loonies want us to use come close. None of the multi-million-dollar simulators can be installed so as to support an entire SOF medical course simultaneously.
      We have the worst political class since Caligula installed his horse in the Senate. Maybe worse — at least Caligula sent the whole horse.

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