News: 1st ACB troopers sharpen combat lifesaving skills
Story by 1st Lt. Alun Thomas
FORT HOOD, Texas – Regardless of job or rank, one of the key skills any soldier needs to possess in the Army is combat lifesaver techniques that can be used either on or off the battlefield.
Keeping those skills up to date is equally important, even for those already trained and certified in this critical area.
To maintain these medical facets the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, held a CLS recertification class Dec. 12, here, in order for soldiers to keep their status as combat lifesavers and most importantly cultivate crucial first aid awareness.
“This is a class taught to non-medical personnel to provide them with advanced first aid training to assist those injured when the situation permits,” said CLS trainer Master Sgt. Olanda James, from Knoxville, Tenn., medical operations noncommissioned officer in charge, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division. “There’s an Army requirement that 10 percent of all soldiers in a unit, or one in any squad or crew be certified.”
James said III Corps has mandated that 100 percent of soldiers at Fort Hood be qualified, making the recertification training crucial to help keep those already certified maintain their status, as the certificate for CLS expires after a year.
“As part of this course I help review lessons the soldiers had previously learned, which include lessons on tactical combat casualty care, care under fire and requesting medical evacuations to name a few,” James said.
Some of the CLS methods previously taught now fall under the Pegasus First Responder program, such as inserting a saline lock and treating burns and cold weather injuries, he continued.
“The major differences between the programs are that CLS is taught by a medic, nurse, doctor or paramedic in order to certify somebody in CLS tasks,” James added. “Because many of these tasks are skill level one, PFR can be taught by non-medical personnel.”
James said he considers CLS training to be one of the most important classes a soldier can get when associated with the medical field.
“There are times you may have one medic responsible for 30 to 40 soldiers and in the event of a mass casualty situation there’s no way that medic can provide care to all those Soldiers,” James continued. “Every additional pair of hands that have been trained helps increase the survivability of the amount of soldiers that are injured,” James said.
“If we could have all our soldiers trained in CLS and PFR then the number of casualties on the battlefield would be a lot less,” he said.
The training was attended by Sgt. Gregory Burns, from Silver Springs, Md., a cable installer, Company C, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, who said as a leader it’s his responsibility to know how to apply CLS methods in any environment.
“This is important not just in a combat situation, but also in non-tactical ones, such as physical training or standing in a formation. It’s something we all need to know,” Burns said. “I’m trying to learn and reassure myself with this class to build confidence for my soldiers and unit,” he continued.
Burns said he will take what he’s learned from the training and make sure his soldiers have the same degree of efficiency as he aspires to.
“There’s always a situation where safety and CLS can be applied on a daily basis and by constant training I can pass what I’ve learned on to them,” he said.
“If you don’t pay attention to what’s being taught here you’ll go into a situation second guessing yourself and that’s definitely something nobody wants to do in a life threatening scenario,” Burns concluded.