USS GREEN BAY (LPD-20) – “This training works,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ruben Levya, a CLS instructor and assistant leading petty officer for Battalion Landing Team 1/1’s corpsmen. “I’ve treated casualties in combat and a couple Marines who I taught back in 2005, saved their fellow Marines lives in Iraq.”
Corpsmen from Marines from BLT 1/1, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, trained their Marines how to save lives through the Combat Lifesavers Course during Composite Training Unit Exercise aboard the USS Green Bay from Nov. 4-19.
The three-day course consisted of classroom instruction and practical application of not only the medical supplies each Marine carries, but IV’s, improvised tourniquets and medical tools corpsmen carry. The corpsmen taught the Marines how to treat wounds caused by gunshots, improvised explosive devices, shrapnel and other hazards on the battlefield. A Marine can die from massive blood loss in less than two minutes if someone can’t stop an artery from bleeding out.
“I think any Marine, no matter what their job or rank should learn these combat lifesaving procedures,” said Lance Cpl. Nickolas Garbee, an administrative clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, BLT 1/1, 13th MEU. “Every Marine is a rifleman and no matter what your job is you need to know to save lives. You don’t want to be in combat and discover you don’t have the know-how to save your buddy.”
The Marines final test was to perform combat lifesaving techniques in a simulated stressful environment as corpsmen shouted commands to them, in less than two minutes, the time someone can succumb to massive blood loss.
Even though no small arms fire erupted or IED’s exploded in the Battalion Aid Station, each Marine had to treat simulated wounds caused by these weapons. The Marines had to check for massive hemorrhaging, obstructed airways, respiratory malfunctions, and broken bones to pass the test.
“I try to make it as loud and distracting as possible while they are trying to perform the lifesaving methods,” said Levya. “You can never simulate a combat environment fully but, the goal is to get them to remember what they’ve been taught under stress and smoothly apply it.”
Stabilizing the simulated casualty meant success as each Marine accomplished this important life saving task. The BLT’s corpsmen plan on teaching more Marines to save lives with CLS as the 13th MEU prepares for deployment.
“Corpsmen won’t always be around to treat wounded Marines,” said Levya. “There’ve been cases where several Marines went down at once and only a few corpsmen were there to help. This gives each Marine a greater chance at surviving their injuries if they can treat each other.”