News: OSW 2014 Soldiers learn combat medicine
Story by Spc. Cal Turner
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.– U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers received crucial Combat Life Saver training as a part of Operation Sustainment Warrior 2014. OSW 2014 is a training event hosted by the 655th Regional Support Group out of Chicopee, Massachusetts (a subordinate unit of the 377th Theater Sustainment Command) from July 20 through Aug. 10.
OSW provides training (typically reserved for deploying Soldiers) to Reserve units currently in the reset phase of the Army Force Generation Cycle.
In its third year, OSW 2014 continues to bring in U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to reinforce fundamental skills and build camaraderie amongst units. Specific events of OSW include CLS certification courses, Basic Rifle Marksmanship, Army Physical Fitness Testing and the German Proficiency Badge.
For the CLS course, eight companies were created from the 377th TSC’s participating units, and Soldiers were able to participate in classroom and hands-on instruction rendered by combat medics, qualified CLS Soldiers, and drill sergeants.
“The hands-on experience makes it easier for Soldiers to train given instructions and a simulated person to touch,” said Sgt. John Ryan, a drill sergeant candidate with the 1st Battalion, 398th Infantry Regiment. “The training’s going good. Soldiers were stressing over the nuances and small things, but they’re good.”
Having medical mannequins gave Soldiers hands-on practice with treating air obstructions and sucking chest wounds. Soldiers used combat tourniquets on one another to practice battlefield applications of the life saving devices.
As they went through the CLS training course, Soldier participants readily expressed their appreciation for the CLS course knowledge and application to the instructors.
“The training is going well, we have excellent instructors who are very knowledgeable,” said Spc. Jermaine Jeffries, an all-wheel mechanic with the 302nd Transportation Company. “I was CLS qualified a few years ago, but there is new stuff I’m learning. I’m looking forward to the lane scenarios and how we can adapt as a unit.”
Many of the CLS instructors enjoy teaching Soldiers and still appreciate being able to work as Combat Medics in the Army as well.
“Soldiers appreciate the training, absolutely,” said Sgt. 1st Class Quincy Belton, a combat lifesaver instructor with the 1st Battalion, 314th Infantry Regiment. “They will be a direct extension of me. They will be there with their buddies instead of me and they will know what to do.”
Belton delivered instruction on tourniquet application and followed the units through their CLS qualification course for its duration. A CLS litter obstacle course competition event concluded the CLS portion of OSW 2014.
“This is my most favorite thing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mike McDermott, a 21-year medic with the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Headquarters, Headquarters Company. “This is something I do everyday. For most Soldiers, it’s a perishable skill; this is not their primary job. You can teach someone all day, but until they come across that real casualty with real actual trauma you hope they reach back and reflect on this class. We plant the seed and try to build muscle memory, build internal images to draw back to this experience.”
Normally a 40-hour certification course, the CLS training was condensed to approximately four training days at OSW 2014. Soldiers who passed a written and practical exam became CLS certified.
OSW 2014 will continue beyond CLS and will include other events such as land navigation, use of the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) 2000 system, and use of other technology-enhanced systems that enrich basic Soldiering skills.