CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — Four Hungarian soldiers from Multinational Battle Group West participated in American Combat Life Saver (CLS) classes at Camp Bondsteel April 12-15.
A total of 12 Hungarian soldiers participated in a cross-training exercise between Hungarian and American soldiers from Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG E).
Hungarian army Sgt. Maj. Laszlo Pasztercsak said that CLS was one of five cross training activities the Hungarians had particpated in, with the goal to train as many soldiers as possible.
"We really appreciate the opportunity to cross train with the Americans," Pasztercsak said. "It is beneficial to know that we can work with the American soldiers in any situation."
CLS classes teach soldiers basic emergency medical care that can be administered on the battlefield, or wherever needed, so that needless fatalities can be avoided. U.S. Army Master Sgt. Charles Graham, of Devils Lake, N.D., a senior medic with MNBG E, said that the skills CLS provides soldiers make a difference on the battlefield.
"It is proven that CLS trained soldiers will reduce combat deaths by 15 percent," Graham said. "Fifteen percent doesn?t sound like a lot, but, if I said you could have a 15-percent-pay raise right now, would you do it?"
The Hungarian army teaches soldiers basic medical care, similar to what every American soldier is taught, but the CLS classes take it a step beyond the basics, something that Pasztercsak said is essential.
"CLS is real life training that is needed, not just for soldiers, but for leaders," Pasztercsak said. "[After this class] I could grab a CLS bag if I saw it on the battlefield and use it to save a person from anywhere."
Graham said the Hungarians were dedicated students.
"They asked very detailed, thought provoking questions to make sure they understood everything," said Graham. "They made sure the hands-on was very intensive and did it until they had perfected it."
The three days of initial training culminated on the fourth day with an exercise to test the knowledge gained and show how their new found skills could be put to use in a chaotic situation. The students assessed and treated multiple casualties on a simulated battlefield. To add realism to the training, mock-gunfire and strobe lights assaulted the students' senses.
"[The final exercise] included everything," Pasztercsak said. "You had to use your knowledge, equipment and training all together. It was challenging and excellent."
From Graham's point of view, the Hungarians were some of the top performers during the class.
"They approached it with extreme calm, and that's the key to medical care," said Graham.
Overall, Graham said that having the Hungarians participating in the CLS class improved and enhanced the experience for the students and teachers.
"We enjoyed having them there," he said. "They were excellent students who added perspective from another viewpoint, which will only help enhance care for Soldiers on the battlefield." They're always welcome.