USS NEW ORLEANS -- One of the unofficial mottoes of Marines everywhere is “adapt and overcome.”
Marines and Sailors have modernized their weapons, gear and tactics since their conception in 1775. While building upon their combat readiness they also added combat lifesaving to their repertoire. They began building a course to save the lives of those Marines and sailors who sustained injuries during the crucible of combat.
The CLS course began its development during Operations Desert Strom and Desert Shield and has evolved since, saving the lives of many service members worldwide.
“The Combat Life Saver Course teaches Marines and Sailors how to conduct a full assessment of injuries sustained in combat and temporary treatment until the patient can be moved to a higher echelon of medical care,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Peter Harding, the platoon corpsman with Battery B, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The course takes an average of five days and is full of classes as well as first-hand experience on the different injuries that can be sustained and how to treat them.
According to Harding, the Marines are taught to conduct an assessment using PMARCHP, which stands for Provider-Patient Safety, Massive Hemorrhage, Airway, Respiration, Head/Hypothermia and Pain Management.
The Marines run tourniquet drills, which consists of treating a victim by applying a tourniquet as quickly and correctly as possible.
They also run movement of patient drills, where they are required to move a victim gently without causing injury, but they must move fast before their simulated transportation leaves.
“The course teaches everything you need to know for first echelon health maintenance, everything you need to know to keep someone sustained or comfortable until they can be moved to a higher echelon provider,” said Cpl. Conner E. Kirby, a forward artillery radar operator with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and graduate of the CLS Course.
The course increased the number of first responders a unit has in case of a mass casualty event.
“The CLS course gave me 100% confidence that I will be able to conduct the first echelon medical care,” said Kirby.
While the Marines build upon their skills in their primary duties, the corpsmen go further in-depth with CLS skills, such as medical first-aid drills and re-education on new medicines.
While the Marines and Sailors of the 13th MEU continue to complete their daily duties while forward deployed, they also further advance their combat effectiveness by conducting courses like the Combat Life Saver Course.