FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Combat Medics play an important role in the Army, providing first aid and trauma care to wounded soldiers but they can’t be everywhere at once and when the call for “medic!” goes out - the first person who responds may not be an actual medic.
Sgt. Stephen Yang, a senior medic with U.S. Army Pacific, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Headquarters Support Company, says that is why it’s so important to have trained combat lifesavers.
“The combat lifesaver course teaches soldiers how to provide immediate care on and off the battlefield and dives into more detail than basic first aid training does,” said Yang.
Yang recently instructed a day-long CLS re-certification course to soldiers of HSC and the U.S. Army Pacific Contingency Command Post, May 10.
The CCP is comprised of a 96-person cell that can perform the same functions as a theater-army headquarters.
Soldiers of the CCP remain prepared constantly to support a variety of missions including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, civil-military coordination, non-combatant evacuation and peace operations.
Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Nilon, an operations noncommissioned officer with the CCP said training like this was an essential part of the CCP’s mission readiness.
“The CCP often deploys in small teams which is why it’s important soldiers know lifesaving skills like CLS,” said Nilon.
The full CLS course takes a week to complete and encompasses 40 hours of training.
Once soldiers are CLS qualified they must re-certify annually to maintain their qualification.
All soldiers receive basic first aid training during Army basic training but combat lifesaver training takes that one step further.
Combat lifesavers serve as vital first responders, providing aid to wounded soldiers.
“It’s how these soldiers react and the care they provide a casualty as first-line responders that can determine if someone lives or dies,” said Yang.
During the re-certification, soldiers received refresher training on basic medical tasks, how to identify and respond to various types of injuries, conducted practical application and passed a written test.
Yang emphasized the importance of CLS training and recommended all soldiers learn these valuable skills.
“Everyone needs to know how to and what to do in a medical emergency in an instant because it’s not planned out, it’s not played out … it happens then and there,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Bogan, a senior intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army Pacific Contingency Command Post who participated in the CLS re-certification said the bottom line is CLS saves lives.
“CLS training can prevent death or sustain life long enough for an injured person to receive expert or trauma care. A large number of battlefield deaths can be prevented by using the principles taught in CLS, clearing the airways, controlling the bleeding and preventing the lungs from collapsing,” said Bogan.
Bogan emphasized the importance of as many soldiers as possible being CLS qualified and getting re-certified every year.
Soldiers aren’t currently required by the Army to be CLS qualified but Bogan says it’s an individual responsibility for soldiers.
“It’s kind of like weapon proficiency. Every soldier is responsible for that and I think they should be proficient in CLS as well,” Bogan added.