Friday, January 22, 2010

Bronze Star Medal

Lt. Col. Ryan Coughlin, operations officer, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, receives the Bronze Star Medal on Jan. 20, 2010. Coughlin was awarded the medal for his duties as Military Training Team chief for the 29th Iraqi Army Brigade. He and his team of 18 Marines and one sailor advised the IAB. Photo by Sgt. Jimmy Green

13th MEU holds combat lifesaver course in preparation of deployment

Story and photos by Sgt. Jimmy Green

With the increasing number of Marines deploying, corpsman are out-numbered and overwhelmed. Being proactive to the lessons learned in combat, the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s command element held a combat lifesaver course to prepare Marines to aid corpsman in the unfortunate event of mass casualty situations. This would allow more Marines to provide first aid than the corpsman could administer at one time.
The first combat lifesaver course of the rotation was held Jan. 4-7. Fourteen Marines from various sections of the command element to include combat camera and intelligence were trained on how to be first responders. Rank or billet did not discriminate. The course was built with students ranging from lance corporal to major.
The intensive four-day course prepared Marines to deal with burns, fractures, collapsed lungs, sucking chest wounds, hemorrhages, hypothermia and treating for shock.
At the end of the course and throughout the curriculum, students were continuously tested on their knowledge through written exams and practical application.
“It’s a really good course as long as Marines take the material seriously,” said Sgt. Sukhwant-rajpal Gill, intelligence analyst with the 13th MEU command element. “It gives you a basic understanding of how to help Marines if corpsmen are limited. You can possibly save a wounded Marine’s life instead of standing by not knowing what to do.”
Gill, a native of Moreno Valley, Calif., said he had a brief understanding of the material before entering the class because his parents were both nurses and he had family that worked in the medical field, but nonetheless, he felt the course was still very beneficial.
“I definitely recommend this course to someone who has had no medical training, however, I think anyone could benefit from this class in some way,” said Gill.
Marines and corpsman alike both share Gill's idea.
"Having Marines go through the combat livessaver course is a force multiplyer," said Senior Chief Christopher W. Thorne, 13th MEU medical planner. "It allows corpsman to focus on the most critical injuries while Marines can help their buddies out."
Several CLS courses will be conducted before the 13th MEU deploys and refresher course for those who underwent the training will also take place.