By Sgt. Alan James Graziano (101st Airborne)April 24, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Approximately 30 Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) took part in a brigade-consolidated Combat Life-Saver course April 15-18 at the Rascon School of Combat Medicine.
The majority of them received the training because they are new to 3rd BCT, coming from either Initial Entry Training or from another duty station. The brigade's objective was to ensure that all Soldiers were familiarized with the most current medical standard operating procedures.
Essentially, the Soldiers had four days to learn all of the necessary skills needed for saving lives on the battlefield. To do so effectively, they had to rely heavily on realistic, hands-on training.
"I know as a medic, sitting in a class all day is worth the knowledge, but sometimes people don't retain that information; it just goes right through their head," said Spc. Shane Wright, a combat medic from 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, who filled in as the instructor for the course in the absence of Staff Sgt. Sean Eversole, the brigade's lead medical instructor.
"I did do a classroom session, you do need that background knowledge; but, being a medic also means hands-on," Wright said.
Private Sean Kellyhansen, a new Soldier who was a student of the CLS course and is an infantryman from 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, said that he agreed that the hands-on learning was highly effective.
"Hands-on training was definitely good practice for us," he said.
"We had a lot of days where it was just hands-on stuff; that's way better than just learning in a classroom, because you can learn a lot more that way."
Furthermore, their knowledge was then tested with a timed exercise that forced them to prove their comprehension of the material while under stress from simulated enemy fire.
"We had to apply those tourniquets really quick and get them off the X, which is the point where we received fire from," said Kellyhansen.
"The most important thing for me was that the instructors really stressed that we had to focus on time, and how to stop bleeding from the major arteries."
Wright said that the key to teaching the new Soldiers about saving lives in combat is to let them assess casualties on their own and get them adjusted to seeing some of the life-threatening injuries that they would likely see in combat.
"We did a lot of practice with the trauma assessments, because most of them have not seen a really bad injury before," he said.
"They can see the injury for themselves instead of someone just saying, 'he has this wound, treat it.' They can see it, assess it themselves, get their hands on it and figure out what's wrong, so in future cases they would do really well."
Kellyhansen said that the methods that were used to teach were highly sufficient despite the short period of time.
"I could save somebody's life now because of these guys," he said.
"It was really clear, they had a lot of knowledge and we did everything as a group."