25th ID’s CLS course gets real

| March 24, 2011 | 0 Comments
Capt. Victoria Starks (center), chief of administrative law, OSJA, 25th ID, seals a casualty's simulated open chest wound, as Spc. Tara Mendez (right), court reporter, OSJA, prepares a dressing during the trauma lanes, the final phase of the CLS course at Camp Liberty, Iraq, March 10.

Capt. Victoria Starks (center), chief of administrative law, OSJA, 25th ID, seals a casualty’s simulated open chest wound, as Spc. Tara Mendez (right), court reporter, OSJA, prepares a dressing during the trauma lanes, the final phase of the CLS course at Camp Liberty, Iraq, March 10.

Story and Photos by
Sgt. Jennifer Sardam
29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, U.S. Division-Center

 

BAGHDAD — A military convoy rolled down a dusty road when a deafening blast and a blinding flash of light ripped through the air.

An improvised explosive device, or IED, had gone off, and as the dust settled, an eerie silence followed, broken only by the growing moans of the injured.

A Soldier screamed, asking in confusion, “Where are we? Where are we?”

Spc. Christie Adams (left), administrative noncommissioned officer in charge, OSJA, 25th ID, helps transport a simulated casualty to safety during the CLS course’s trauma lanes, given by medics from HSC, HHBN, 25th ID, at Camp Liberty, Iraq, March 10.

Spc. Christie Adams (left), administrative noncommissioned officer in charge, OSJA, 25th ID, helps transport a simulated casualty to safety during the CLS course’s trauma lanes, given by medics from HSC, HHBN, 25th ID, at Camp Liberty, Iraq, March 10.

All in the convoy were wounded, and many might not have survived without immediate medical care.

Fortunately, this IED encounter was only a simulation in the final phase of the Combat Lifesaver Course that medics from Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, gave recently at Camp Liberty, Iraq.

Known as the trauma lanes, this stage of the 40-hour course puts students’ skills to the test and is the culmination of classroom instruction and hands-on training in tasks such as controlling bleeding and splinting a leg.

The pace of the scenario was demanding, as teams hurried through the lanes, evaluating casualties, applying tourniquets, returning fire and moving the injured to safety for further first aid and medical evacuation.

“You’re working in a time constraint, and in real life, you’ve got to think about where you have to be … (so, you’re) running around quickly,” said Spc. Christie Adams, administrative noncommissioned officer in charge, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 25th ID. “You can’t pause and think. You just have to act.”

Role-playing medics acted as casualties and challenged the students’ skills, shouting for help while covered in fake blood and wounds to create a scene reminiscent of combat. Students of past CLS classes said the human element made this training difficult but also more effective.

 

“Last time I actually did the training, it was with dummies,” said Spc. Tara Mendez, court reporter, OSJA. “I like this better, just because of the fact that you can see how heavy they are and how their clothing gets in the way. They are yelling and screaming, and the dummy’s just always unconscious.”

The combat-like environment helps reinforce the knowledge gained during class.

“You can perfect (knowledge) in the classroom, but once you get out and actually have to put it to use, that’s when all of it really comes to show what you’ve learned,” said Spc. Rodrick Davis, supply clerk, HSC, HHBN. “I definitely think I would be more prepared if I ever have to do this again in real life.”

While some of the students were first-timers in the course, others had come to recertify. Past CLS training was confined to the classroom and primarily focused on tasks like administering fluids intravenously, said Capt. Victoria Starks, chief of administrative law at OSJA.

“We didn’t do a scenario like this,” she said, “so this application-based test is a lot better than what I’d initially gone through.”

The CLS course is now more geared toward the basics of what Soldiers need to do to save lives on the battlefield, said Staff Sgt. Andre Sonne, HSC, HHBN, who supervises the division’s program.

“They’ve gone away from some of the stuff they know doesn’t work,” he said. “Every Soldier can perform these basic medical skills to save lives. Whether you’re on the (forward operating base) or you’re actually out in sector, you never know what’s going to happen.

“I think everybody in the Army should be CLS-certified, because it just adds to the combat power and the sustainment of troops,” Sonne said.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News, Training

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