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CLS: Training to save lives
By Pfc. Saul Rosa, 444MPAD

What do Soldiers do when the fighting is over and their buddies are wounded but there aren't any medics?

Simple: They use the skills they learned from their Combat Life Saver (CLS) course at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., which teaches every Soldier to be a combat lifesaver.

This 40-hour course is normally spread over four to five days, yet it was condensed into three days for the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).

"We have to train them to the best of their ability so they can help us when the time comes."

Pvt. Antanacio Guzman, left, performs a "live" IV procedure on Pvt. Samuel Diaz during Combat Life Saver training. Both are Soldiers of Alpha Co., 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry, 50th IBCT. Photo by Spc. Robert A. Posa, 444MPAD

The main skills taught are starting IVs (intravenous needles), suppressing excess blood flow from extremities with the use of tourniquets, using needle decompression to treat a collapsed lung, and maintaining airflow. The course also promotes a degree of trust and unity between combat lifesavers and combat medics.

“We have to train them to the best of their ability so they can help us when the time comes,” said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Cosmanic, Combat Medic and CLS instructor.

The goal of the CLS course is to have 50 percent of the 50th IBCT qualified by the summer; yet with the team of dedicated instructors and the focused CLS students of the IBCT, the goal will be reached before the end of April with 1,906 total lifesavers.



Combat life saver instructor Mike Arrowgood (left), along with Spc. Marlene Martinez (center) watches as Sgt. 1st Class Brenda Alston (right) inserts an IV into the arm of Sgt. Jorge Chavez (front). Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.

Although qualification is the announced goal, the true goal is to make every soldier confident enough to save his battle buddy if the time comes.

“I had this course before but I learned a lot of new techniques and now I feel confident in what I know,” said Spc. Orlen Zambrano of B Company, 2-113th Infantry, 50th IBCT.

The certification lasts one year as the Soldiers of the 328th Military Police (MP) Company found out May 4. The 328th had to recertify in CLS because they were first certified in October 2007 and would be in Iraq when their certification expires.

“Medical care on the battlefield is essential during the golden hour, at the time a soldier is first wounded, when the care is most crucial,” said 1st Sgt. Brett Eberlin, of the 328th MP and certified in CLS.

Soldiers of the 328th appreciated the skills learned in the CLS program.

“It’s great for combat operations,” said Spc. James Zoladz of the 328th MP “Why wouldn’t you want everyone to be trained to save lives?”

Soon many of these Soldiers will be bringing more than their weapons to the fight. They will be bringing the skills to save the lives of their battle buddies; skills learned in the Combat Life Saver course.



Table of Contents
Volume 34 Number 2 Staff / Information
(c) 2008 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs