By 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public AffairsApril 20, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq - For 40 Soldiers here, this was combat lifesaver training with a new twist, a combat lifesaver extreme, from April 6 to 9.
Staff Sgt. Robert Norton, troop medical clinic noncommissioned officer in charge, 16th Sustainment Brigade, wearing a drill sergeant hat shouted at the CLS students who placed their CLS training into action and saved the bleeding Soldier-volunteers of casualties during the trauma lanes here April 9.
"We added the extra pressure to ensure that Soldiers can tune out the noise and confusion and focus on saving a Soldier's life," said Sgt. Evelyn Pollard, medical noncommissioned officer, 16th Sust. Bde., and combat lifesaver instructor. "When there is a casualty that may have injuries that are distracting, you may forget to check things that may kill. Something like the tongue blocking the airway is more of a problem than a broken arm that is not bleeding."
With a new advanced military casualty moulage kit, a remote-controlled simulation kit spurting fake blood onto live, volunteer-casualties, the medics taught the Soldiers from a spectrum of Army occupational specialties life-saving medical skills.
"I thought the day we did IVs on each other would be the hardest part, but the trauma lanes, with the shouting and squirting blood and multiple injuries was definitely harder," said Sgt. Keith M. Anderson, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sust. Bde. "I was so nervous I started to IV a casualty that was not breathing and had no pulse."
Soldiers from seven companies within the 16th Sust. Bde., learned the fundamentals of "combat lifesaver," a course of instruction the Army teaches to ensure that Soldiers won't die on the battlefield.
"In the 16th SB there are less than a hundred medics, and some are doing other jobs," said Pollard. "There are thousands of Soldiers in the brigade, and medics can't go on every mission and can't be at every place on the COB or on the battlefield; so the CLS is taught the life-saving steps that will save a Soldier's life until we can get to them."
Soldiers learned care under fire, tactical field care, combat casualty evacuation care, and the ABC's of checking airway, breathing and circulation.
"Today's combat lifesaver is highly skilled, learning pertinent life-saving medical skills such as tactical combat casualty care, managing a casualty's airway, treating penetrating chest trauma, decompressing a tension pneumothorax, hemorrhage control, and initiating intravenous infusions as well as performing casualty evacuations," said Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hardiek, surgeon cell noncommissioned officer in charge, 16th Sust. Bde. "These carefully chosen lifesaving skills provide the most intervention to the major preventable causes of death on today's battlefield and thus save lives."
Medics from the "Jedi Base" have trained more than 300 Soldiers at COB Q-West since assuming responsibility of the troop medical clinic here in August.
During the 40-hour course, CLS students received two days of classroom instruction, one day learning how-to and administering the intravenous infusions, and the last day was spent outside - running through trauma lanes.