Story and photos by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
More than 30 Soldiers attended a four-day combat lifesaver training class, to learn basic medical skills which will help keep casualties alive, at the Fort Carson Medical Simulation Training Center, Dec. 17-20.
In addition to Fort Carson personnel, Soldiers from Peterson Air Force Base’s 1st Space Battalion and Buckley Air Force Base’s 743rd Mission Intelligence Battalion attended the training, either as a first run through or as an annual refresher.
“It’s important that these Soldiers learn these lifesaving skills, because they are potentially the first ones … to find the casualties,” said Staff Sgt. Jon Talbot, Fort Carson MSTC noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. “They are usually the first ones to really see what’s going on, do an assessment on them, and see where they stand.
“These initial treatments are the baseline for where the casualty is going to go for the rest,” said Talbot. “They lay the groundwork for the medics’ work.”
The training consisted of crawl, walk and run phases, which included classroom lectures, hands-on training and a field training exercise.
Soldiers were walked through the CLS criteria, what they need to do in each step in each phase of care — care under fire, tactical field care and tactical evacuation care — so they understood they are only doing a specified amount of care at a certain point of injury.
Soldiers are required to go through CLS training annually, although Talbot said he thinks it would be great to do CLS refreshers all the time.
“If they could do it once a month, where an NCO grabs a Soldier, lays out a mannequin, and says, ‘This guy has this injury, this injury and this injury; go,’ (the treatments) get into muscle memory,” said Talbot. “I think the more often they do it, the more used to using the individual first aid kit they are, the more comfortable they will be if they are ever put in that situation.”
Spc. David Love said he enjoyed the “quick-paced and hands-on” training.
“They put you into these high-stress situations to simulate a combat environment and how you would react to specific situations,” said Love, 4th Inf. Div. Band. “It’s a bit stressful at times, but they do a really good job teaching us how to evaluate the situation, and what steps to go through to take care of the injury.”
The knowledge and skills gained through CLS helped Love feel more comfortable about his basic medical skills.
“I learned a lot about the CLS measures and steps that need to be taken to take care of severely-injured casualties in combat situations, and also how to take the time to calm down and seriously address the situation, and assess what’s going on,” said Love.
Another Soldier said he believes the lifesaving skills learned in the training will greatly benefit his comrades.
“As (explosive ordnance disposal specialists), we don’t have medics with us, so it’s important that every one of us (is) able to do basic lifesaving skills,” said Spc. Stephen Neumann, EOD specialist, 62nd Ordnance Company, 242nd EOD Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group. “I definitely feel comfortable applying my medical skills if needed. Realistically, the training here, no one really knows each other, so it seems a lot more hectic than downrange. It’s going to flow better with our unit, because we’re pretty much all family.”
Neumann has gone through the CLS course five times since he’s been at Fort Carson.
“I’ve done this training multiple times, but each time you always pick up something new, because you can’t learn everything from one go-around,” said Neumann. “These are really good skills; it’s not just for your battle buddy left and right, but real-world situations that are out and about with your friends.”