ABOARD HRMS JOHAN DE WITT, Norway — U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, embarked on the HRMS Johan De Witt for exercise Cold Response 2010, used their free time on ship to refresh their combat lifesaving skills during a brief class Feb. 24.
Combat Lifesaver, or CLS as it is known amongst most Marines, is a series of basic combat trauma skills taught to Marines by corpsmen assigned to their unit. In a mass casualty event, where every second counts towards survival, Marines can free up their corpsman by providing basic medical care, such as starting IVs, applying pressure dressings or using quick clot to stop serious bleeding. Such actions can stabilize a patient until a corpsman can apply more advanced treatment if needed.
“A corpsman can easily lose several minutes, which add up, dealing with the basic stuff,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Rodriguez, a hospital corpsman and CLS instructor for Headquarters and Supply Company, 2nd Bn., 25th Marines. “A Marine with just a basic set of skills can augment a corpsman by providing the initial start on a patient, which is great for someone to do for you.”
During the class, the Marines, who had last conducted CLS training in 2008 while preparing for their deployment to Iraq, received hands-on application training during the class from Rodriguez and other volunteers. Marines refreshed their skills with starting IVs and opening nasopharengial airways by inserting air tubes through the nostrils into the throat.
Rodriguez said he was impressed by the knowledge the Marines had retained since he had last trained them.
Starting an IV is not like a bike, you can forget this stuff,” he said. “However, it is great to ask questions and get correct answers back to 90 percent of the questions I asked.”
Lance Cpl. Heath Bowker, a squad automatic weapon gunner with Company F, 2nd Bn., 25th Marines, said the class was a good use of time while not out in the field.
“This class was a good refresher, especially for IVs,” he explained, “It is always good to practice techniques and knowledge that can save another Marine’s life.”