The 82d Airborne Division, as the Army's worldwide contingency division, places unique demands on its medical personnel. This was true particularly during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990–1991. An unprecedented emergency medical training program was carried out in preparation for the Gulf War.
All levels of expertise were involved: non medical Combat Lifesavers, medics, physician assistants, and physicians. Courses provided included Combat Lifesaver provider and refresher training, Basic Trauma Life Support (BTLS) provider and instructor training, Chemical Casualty courses, and a Combat Surgical Skills course. Approximately 736 personnel, including 80 Saudi and allied physicians and medics, participated in these courses. Confidence and competence in handling war casualties at all levels was enhanced greatly. Prepackaged courses such as BTLS enabled the rapid training of large numbers of medical personnel under challenging conditions.