JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Every week, the 2nd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) hosts a combat lifesaver course at its headquarters building.
The unit's goal is to have every one of its members CLS qualified, to ensure they are all combat ready and prepared to react to any situation.
Staff Sgt. Lennis O. Gray, the senior medic with D troop, 1st Squadron, 278th ACR and the senior instructor for the CLS course, said he believes the course is vital to his units' mission readiness.
Gray, a Savannah, Tenn., native, said the CLS course teaches essential lifesaving skills such as hemorrhage control, and how to use a nasopharyngeal airway, apply an occlusive dressing and perform a needle chest decompression.

All aspects of the training are important, said Gray, but he put one skill above all others.
"The biggest thing I emphasize is hemorrhage control," he said. "(Left unattended), that has shown to be the biggest percentage of people that died needlessly on the battlefield."
First Lt. Shannon A. O'Reilly, the platoon leader with H Troop, 2nd Squadron, 278th ACR and a Radford, Va., native, completed the CLS course April 12.
O'Reilly said he is confident that every member of his team now knows how to respond in an emergency situation.

"It is important because it helps maintain combat power ... and it prevents loss of life," he said. "I recommend that every Soldier have this course, so that they can help their fellow Soldier out."
Pfc. Bruce Hill, a combat medic with G Troop and an instructor with the CLS course, said his main goal is to ensure that Soldiers are able to apply the skills they learn in the classroom practically.
"My goal ... is that they meet the standard and can apply the techniques that we show them in a real life situation," he said.

Hill, a Sparta, Tenn., native, said he agreed with Gray, that blood loss is the biggest threat to an injured person on the battlefield.
"The most important skill that they learn is hemorrhage control, putting a tourniquet on," he said.
Hill said he has confidence in his students and tries to prepare them for anything.
"I feel that they are prepared," he said. "I believe you cannot ever be completely prepared, but (they) will be ready."