Spartans test medic skills in southern Iraq
March 23, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Seven combat lifesavers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division participated in a unit medical competition here March 14 to determine who could provide the best combat casualty care.
Spc. Matthew Varns, an information systems specialist with the 4th Special Troops Battalion 'Spartans', won first place in the contest, his third major accomplishment during this deployment. The Birmingham, AL, resident also won his company's Soldier-of-the-Month Board, then the battalion Soldier-of-the-Quarter Board, which tested the Spartan Soldiers' mental and physical capabilities in combat readiness techniques, leadership skills and military knowledge.
"This is some of the best training I have ever received," said Varns, who has proudly served with the U.S. Army the past two years.
The CLS competition, which included an Army Physical Fitness Test, 5-kilometer road march and a medical identification and application exercise, was created by junior enlisted Soldiers to test their familiarity on providing combat care during highly stressful scenarios.
Most of the Spartan Soldiers said the competition was a welcomed break from routine operations the battalion performs here.
"I think all Soldiers should have this type of training," said Varns. "It helped break the monotony, and was actually good training."
Spc. Cecilia Sarabia, one of the Spartan's combat medics who was responsible for creating the medical training event, said the competition is important because it identifies how a Soldier would react in real life combat-care situations.
"The Soldiers will be able to take vital information from this event and apply it in future situations," said the El Paso, Texas native. "This started as just a contest for CLS qualified troops, but it's just as informative as it is competitive."
"When I become a noncommissioned officer, I want my troops to have these skills and techniques because I would like them to be successful," added Varns, who said he always strives to exceed the Army's basic standards.
Varns was awarded a battalion belt buckle, a 1st Cavalry Division Jersey and received his third Army Achievement Medal for winning the CLS competition.
Varns said he plans to change stations to Germany within the next year and is prepared to teach other Soldiers the invaluable medical skills he learned during the battalion's CLS course, which could possibly save a life one day.