ARABIAN SEA — Would you know what to do if the person standing next to you took a bullet through the chest? That’s just the kind of scenario Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) are preparing for. Knowing what type of wound and how to treat it could save their life.
To date, 118 Marines aboard Boxer have completed basic combat lifesaver (CLS) training since leaving for deployment in August.
Hospital corpsmen assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) teach the four-day course. Marines learn basic CLS techniques including how to apply a tourniquet, stop massive hemorrhaging and how to place a nasopharyngeal airway tube in a patient who has stopped breathing.
The course is designed to enhance Marines basic knowledge of how to treat a wound on the battlefield.
“The name of the game is bringing home as many Marines as possible” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Johnson IV, from New Orleans and the CLS coordinator aboard Boxer. “With CLS equipped Marines the chances of that greatly increase.”
The course also gives Marines an understanding of basic vital signs and how to assess them.
“We learned how to recognize vital signs and what’s right and what’s wrong with the human anatomy,” said Cpl. Tyson Kolarov from Clinton Township, Mich. “That way we can react and treat as needed.”
In addition to classroom instruction, the course also includes hands on training, which involves all of the students acting as simulated casualties.
“We ask them to put up as big of a fight as possible while they are being treated,” said Johnson. “A wounded person on the battlefield isn’t going to sit by quietly as you apply pressure to a bullet wound.”
Johnson said it’s a valuable life saving asset that every Marine aboard could benefit from.
“We are often outnumbered on the battlefield,” Johnson speaking on the ratio of corpsmen to Marines. “If a corpsman goes down or a mass casualty event was to transpire, the more Marines that know how to react and treat the wounded, the better.”
The classes are scheduled to continue throughout deployment.