CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq " Soldiers of 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, completed a four-day combat lifesaver course at Contingency Operating Base Warhorse, Iraq, July 10-13.
Combat medics assigned to Company C, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd AAB, led the 40-hour course at various locations throughout the base for more than 25 Soldiers participating in the course.
The class is designed to teach Soldiers with no medical-related experience basic and advanced first aid techniques, said Spc. Tacy Caffey, a medic from Seminole, Texas, with Company C.
Soldiers learned a diverse curriculum that included lectures, hands-on demonstrations, lane training and a written exam, said Caffey.
Within the curriculum, Soldiers learned skill sets such as controlling bleeding, proper use of a tourniquet, applying a nasal pharyngeal airway, and performing needle chest compressions, she said.
Specialist Michael Olsen, a student in the course, said using the training properly will ensure wounded Soldiers have more time to be treated by medical personnel.
“(CLS) is about … saving peoples’ lives,” said Olsen, an intelligence systems maintainer with Company A, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd AAB.
Even though he is not a medic, Olsen said that basic knowledge of immediate medical care is vital, because a medical professional may not always be around.
“In case the medic goes down or you don’t have one … you know the basic steps to saving somebody’s life,” said Olsen, a Boise, Idaho, native.
Caffey said, at times, a combat lifesaver might need to assist a medic or provide care to the medics themselves.
For that reason, Caffey stressed to each of her students the importance of paying attention to every detail, as well as understanding the most important factor with saving lives " controlling bleeding.
“The major hemorrhaging should be taken care of first,” added Caffey.
Paying attention is vital, Caffey explained, since the class has changed in recent years.
Caffey said nasopharyngeal airways and chest decompressions recently became new topics in the CLS course.
Olsen said, although he knew some information about how to apply tourniquets and bandages, the NPA and chest decompressions were a new idea to him.
Regardless of how new the concept, the CLS class can challenge Soldiers, regardless of their experience with previous techniques, said Caffey.
To ensure that all Soldiers who are CLS-certified maintain a fresh perspective on their techniques and keep up with current methods, instructors offer refresher courses for units upon request, explained Caffey.