CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — Combat medics assigned to the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division offered a Combat Lifesaver Course to about 20 service members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Aug. 27-30, 2013.
The course, available to all service members, taught basics in battlefield casualty care, such as CPR, opening and managing airways, controlling bleeding, treating shock and requesting medical evacuations. It consisted of about 40 hours of classroom instruction, a written test and practical evaluation to pass the class with an annual recertification requirement.
“The students, over the past week, have been learning … how to treat battlefield injuries,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Phillips, senior medical training noncommissioned officer with the battalion. “By no means are they medics, but a combat lifesaver is a good gap between a common service member … and a medic.”
The instructors stressed the importance of combat lifesavers during the four-day course, and how knowing a few basic steps could save a life on the battlefield, he said.
Statistics have shown that about 90 percent of all casualties from past conflicts could have been avoided with better battlefield care, which is one reason why the combat lifesaver program started, Phillips said.
Combat lifesavers assist medics by having basic medical knowledge to treat injuries enabling the medics to concentrate their efforts on the severely injured, he said.
“So when a medic is geared solely on saving one person’s life, which is going to require 100 percent of their time, and they have (others with) minor injuries, the combat lifesaver can go in and actually manage those casualties until the medic can free up enough time to get to them,” Phillips said.
In a joint environment, sharing knowledge and experience is important, which is why this class was open to all services.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Darrel Dorsey, a strategic plans and policy administrative clerk with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, said this is his first joint deployment and felt everything he learned in the class was important.
“I initially wanted to go through the class just for a little extra experience and didn’t know what to expect but I learned a lot,” Dorsey said. “There was a lot more hands-on in the course than what I’m used to and it really instilled the training.”
Another student said the class is beneficial for anyone who attends.
U.S. Army Spc. Adrian Dominguez, an infantryman with the battalion, said this was his third certification through the course, and it has some great lifesaving material.
“The hands-on portion puts added pressure on you and puts everything in perspective,” he said. “It was a great refresher for me, and I’d recommend this class to anyone.”
This training ensures military members assigned to CJTF-HOA are ready at a moment’s notice to deploy supporting military-to-military engagements throughout East Africa.