JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, Nj. -- The 174th Infantry Brigade conducted a joint service combat lifesaver course (CLS), for Army, Air Force and Navy servicemembers from 23-25 March, 2015.
The CLS course teaches servicemembers how to properly provide immediate first aid on the battlefield, providing every Soldier, Airman and Sailor with the knowledge to administer potential life saving aid.
"As a nurse," said Air Force Col. Allison Bowden, Deputy Command Surgeon and Command Nurse of Headquarters Air Force Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., "to see these people who have never had any kind of medical experience gaining the competence to save lives puts a smile on my face."
This CLS class focuses attention on how to move a casualty to a safe area to effectively stop bleeding and ensure an open airway, applying tourniquets and calling for medical evacuation for Soldiers who fall on the battlefield. This course, which is a requirement for all First Army Observer Coach/Trainers and gives the student the basic knowledge to render first aid until medics can arrive or the Soldier can be evacuated to a treatment facility.
"As we fight today's war, and tomorrow's war, we are supposed to synchronize and work together as services," explained Bowden. "It's crucial that we are speaking the same language, and learning to do the same things, especially when it comes to field care. It's the difference between life and death."
Bowden stated that regardless of how much training someone has, they still continue to learn new things every day. She was impressed with the knowledge of the instructors and the creative thinking put into the program.
"I'm very pleased with the professionalism of the Army and these instructors," said Bowden. "The way they train us, you can see they are committed to and enjoy what they do. They are delivering what we really need for this mission."
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Bathe, Chief of Airfields, 820th Regiment at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., stated that while this is not his first deployment with Army Soldiers, nor his first combat lifesaver course, he said he has seen the evolution of CLS becoming more efficient. This time around, he said he will remember the new unique improvised litter carry methods he learned, such as using a duffle bag.
"It's important and to learn what the Army is teaching because we are not always outside the wire, but when we do go out on convoys, we will now have the capability to save our own Airmen as well as the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines that are right next to us," explained Bathe.
Army Cpl. Erica Muniz, a combat lifesaver instructor with 3rd Battalion, 312th Combat Support Regiment, really enjoys instructing the CLS course, and the joint training session that provides challenges with language and lingo as they mesh the cultures into one training.
"This is essential when you're going overseas," said Muniz. "I think every Soldier, and other branches for that matter, should be trained in CLS because it's an important life skill."
Muniz went on to say that the most common cause of death on the battlefield is blood loss and she feels the skills trained in the CLS program gives students with the necessary skills to provide immediate care and save more lives on the battlefield.
"I hope this training will give them the skills to look out for each other and to think quickly and outside the box when it comes to treating a casualty," said Muniz. "You're not always going to have the proper equipment, like tourniquets or litters, so to be able to improvise by using other items in a way to save your buddy's life is something that I hope they take with them."