FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers made their way through the brush while on patrol near Belton Lake on a cold December morning at Fort Hood, Texas. Suddenly the team of four heard the sound of incoming indirect fire. Someone yelled “incoming,” and the soldiers dropped to the ground.
The team from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Pegasus Fires took part in the battalion’s combat lifesaver warrior games, Dec. 10.
“We are incorporating warrior tasks and combat lifesaving tasks into a lane where they can practice as a team-sized element and test themselves on these tasks, in order to prepare for combat,” said 1st Lt. Jacob Portalatin, the medical operations officer for 1st Battalion, 21st FAR.
For one medic overseeing the games, this was more than just a training event. Spc. Isiah Stewart, a native of Compton, Calif., saw these lifesaving skills in action during a 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.
While on a convoy from Logar province to Kandahar province, Stewart’s patrol came under attack from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. Shortly after that, one of the vehicles struck an improvised explosive device. The convoy took casualties during both engagements, and Stewart found himself in a situation where he had to depend on the CLS qualified soldiers to treat the minor injuries so he could tend to the more critically injured soldiers.
“It’s important because, if I’m out of the fight or my comrades [other medics] are out of the fight, that these soldiers know exactly what to do if a medical situation pops off or if any of these guys are needed to perform these skills, we want to make sure they know it,” Stewart said.
Stewart’s experience in Afghanistan illustrates the need for training events like the CLS Warrior games.
The competition took place over two days with the first day geared toward military operations in urban terrain operations. The teams engaged in simulated combat lanes in a virtual shoot house at the Fort Hood Training Support Center.
On the second day, the soldiers moved out to the field for the culminating event. They had to demonstrate their knowledge of CLS and warrior tasks through a hands-on test. The soldiers were required to perform such tasks as reacting to indirect fire, calling in an unexploded ordinance report, caring for wounded while under fire, buddy carrying and dragging, and loading litters into the back of a high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle front-line ambulance.
Spc. David Morgan, Spc. Fredrick Stone, Pfc. Shawn Campbell, and Pvt. Jacob Patch from 575th Forward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 21st FAR, TF Pegasus Fires, clenched the number one spot during the battalion’s CLS warrior games.