The Army combat medics are trained to provide medical treatment to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. They are vital assets in the functionality of the combat team when going on any hazardous mission.
However, medics aren’t always available in some situations to provide first aid and trauma care to wounded Soldiers.
“Normally there’s only one medic per platoon, which can stretch the combat casualty care out on the battlefield,” said Staff Sgt. Cherod Jones, NCOIC, Schools and Resuscitative Medicine, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, the primary Combat Lifesaver course instructor at Fort George G. Meade, MD.
The combat lifesaver is a non-medical Soldier trained to provide lifesaving measures beyond the level of self-aid or buddy-aid. “This course provides training for non-medical Soldiers to deliver lifesaving measures to wounded Soldiers,” said Jones.
The course is a go between medics and non-medical soldiers. “This class gives students some advance skills, so they can provide treatment on the ground however, we (medics) provide major combat casualty care,” said Jones.
The CLS course, initially a 5-day course, was consolidated to 3-days at Fort Meade in response to the feedback, AARs and lessons learned from the Soldiers. “The shortening of the course improved the learning curve and helped students stay actively engaged,” Jones explained. “There’s less time wasted and this enabled us to optimize the training time.”
A veteran instructor, Jones provided CLS training to 26 Fort Meade Soldiers on 20-22 September. “Soldiers respond well to this training and often I have more students requesting seats than we have available - it’s a great success.”
A properly trained combat lifesaver is capable of stabilizing many types of casualties and can slow the deterioration of a wounded Soldier's condition until medical personnel arrive. Furthermore, in a non-hostile environment, the CLS course mimics civilian first responder course.
“Anything happens out on the range, motor pool, or training sites - these Soldiers are able to treat and provide initial care before the EMS team arrives,” emphasized Jones. “The CLS course helps out everyone tremendously.”
Speaking on the force protection aspect of the CLS, Jones said “As far as the big picture, it’s a force multiplier - as we are saving lives out on the battlefield.”
The 3-day CLS course is offered monthly and class sizes vary from 15 to 25 students per class.