GORUCK Self Responder AAR

The other day I saw a short post and patch picture pop up on the GORUCK Reddit sub. I had not heard of GORUCK Self Responder and was intrigued. I reached out to the poster, Brink, and asked if he could write up a quick AAR to share. He obliged and we’ve posted it below.

This seems like a really great course and something I’d totally take if there were any near me. Currently, looks like there are only a few scheduled. Hopefully, some more will pop up!

It all started on a hot, humid day in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. The Cadre were a former Navy Seal and an Isreali Special Forces combat medic. I had no idea what I’d be getting into, but I knew it was something I needed. I have always been interested in being prepared. Having life savings skills is a must for good preparation. I’ll add a side note, this class was a bargain, it was $25 and no brainer for me to sign up. Many wilderness first aid classes can be to the tune of $300-$500 and would be covering very similar skills (how to save someone or yourself in the event medical personnel are not immediately ready). I also received two ‘stop the bleed’ certifications and a patch.

The premise of the course per GORUCK is this, “Self Responder is a trauma centric first aid course that will teach you the skills needed to save your life and the lives of others after a potentially fatal incident. Traumatic injury is one of the leading causes of death for people under 50 in the US; a significant portion of those deaths are from severe bleeding – the most treatable cause of death due to trauma. This course will teach you how to treat the most common injuries suffered by an active shooter incident and other acts of violence. You will learn by seeing and performing the latest Tactical Combat Casualty Care techniques for self and buddy-aid.”

GORUCK provided a required list of medical supplies (detailed below) that all participants were supposed to bring. This was not just to look at, but to actually unpack and use. I really appreciated this. I have carried some of these items in my IFAK (individual first aid kit), but had never actually taken them out and used them.

At one point in the course, the Cadre had our partner lay down and flail around while we were kneeling down on their aortic artery and trying to get a tourniquet put on, but also maintaining situational awareness of a potentially hostile environment. It was real-life practice. Then the cadre’s went around, tugging on your tourniquets making sure they are on properly and tight enough.

We also learned how to use Isreali bandages for neck bleeds and how to use ace bandages for a makeshift tourniquet.

At one point in the training, we got to use chest seals, practicing what to do in the event someone was shot in the chest (lung area). This was the part where I really began to question exactly what I was doing, but that’s how you know you are doing something awesome. The Cadre had all the men in the room take off their shirts and they walked around with a sharpie and drew an entry wound and an exit wound on everyone. Your partner had to stick the chest seals on both sides of you. So there I was, standing in what appeared to be some middle of nowhere private shooting range ‘cabin’ with 20+ men with their shirts off, sticking chest seals on each other… it gets better. I know, right?!?

For the grand finale, the cadre had purchased some pork butts to simulate actual human flesh. We went outside, they put a couple of hollow-point rounds into them and then we all took turns ‘packing’ the wounds with hemostatic agents to clot the blood faster. Pretty awesome I gotta say.

10/10 would do again. If you get the chance to do this course, I highly recommend it.


Participants are to bring IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) or at minimum:

During training you will learn how to:

  • Take up a tactical position in order to protect yourself and others in a war zone
  • Perform a hasty triage and control a frantic crowd
  • Use an individual first aid kit and identify any nearby tools to assist you in bleeding control
  • Learn to use direct pressure, dressings, and tourniquets to stop bleeding
  • Pack a deep wound with cloth or gauze to control bleeding

The duration of this course is 2 hours.

What do you think? Have you done this course? Interested? Sound off in the comments below.

2 Replies to GORUCK Self Responder AAR

  1. I took this class as well and highly recommend it. This was my first true “First Aid” class, and while it is focused on tactical injuries, the methods could be used in most situations for trauma.

    Can’t say enough about the GORUCK community. Sign up!

  2. As a Navy Corpsman I’ve had all this training drilled in my head over and over again. I can say without a doubt that this is the kind of knowledge you’ll wish you had if ( heaven forbid) you’re put in a situation where such trauma takes place. I carry two people’s worth of blowout kits in my EDC GR2.

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