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Soldiers put lifesaver skills to the test

Soldiers put lifesaver skills to the test

Story by SGT Rodney Roldan on 07/22/2019

FORT MCCOY, Wis. One of the lyrics from music group The Jackson 5’s 1970 hit song “ABC,” says that it’s “easy as 1, 2, 3.” However, when it comes to the ABCs of checking an airway, just one of the skills taught in the Army’s combat lifesaver (CLS) course, it may not be that easy, especially under simulated gunfire and in a sea of white smoke.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 13th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Battalion out of Arden Hills, Minnesota, put to test a number of skills acquired through a CLS course July 18, 2019, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The course, held at the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC), involved learning care under fire, tactical field care, combat casualty evacuation care, and the ABCs, which is checking airway, breathing and circulation.

“It’s something every Soldier needs to go through, because it gives you the basics on how to help someone in combat,” said Spc. Ayanfe Afelumo, a Soldier participating in the CLS course.

The course area consisted of make-shift housing, smoke machines, a series of electronic devices used to replicate battlefield sounds, and mannequins dressed as Soldiers with simulated injuries to replicate the conditions Soldiers may face on a real-life battlefield. Soldiers were required to place tourniquets on mannequins where they saw fit, along with inserting a nasopharyngeal tube to assist with breathing after determining the conditions of some of the casualties.

“I feel like the simulation is a lot, compared to the battlefield, which I know is 10 times worse. It’s something that you have to keep doing over again and stay committed to,” said Afelumo. “You have to get more familiar with it and do better under pressure.”

The skills these Soldiers acquire during the CLS course is something that can also be applied to specific aspects of their civilian lives.
Sgt. Jason Hatfield, a Soldier participating in the CLS course and who is currently employed as a law enforcement officer at a jail in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, said at some point in his career he can work as a deputy and use the skills he has acquired in military training.

The ABCs of checking an airway may not be as easy as 1-2-3, but knowledge of such skills is just one of the many aspects of continuous Army training that ensures units like the 13th PSYOP Bn. is ready to respond when tasked with future deployments.

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