MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
When a Marine is injured in combat, you would normally hear the words "corpsman up." But when there isn't a Corpsman around, Combat Life Savers step up to fill the void.
Twenty seven Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit attended Combat Life Saver training, Mar. 31 to April 2, 2009. The group included Marines from the MEU's Command Element, as well as the MEU's Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22.
The purpose of CLS is to provide a bridge between the basic first aid taught to every Marine and the advanced medical training a corpsmen or combat medic receives.
The three-day course taught Marines how to assist corpsmen during mass-casualty situations and render aid in the absence of a corpsman.
The Marines didn't just sit through lectures about different life-saving techniques such as inserting intravenous needles, handling sucking chest wounds, or applying pressure dressings and tourniquets, they got hands-on training using fellow students as training aids.
"It's very important for Marines to go through this course because Marines must know how to help Marines in a life and death situation," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph D. Rawson, a corpsman with the MEU and head CLS instructor.
By learning what it takes to save a life, Marines are now capable of preventing deaths when they enter a hostile environment, said Rawson, a Philadelphia native.
"CLS provides a way for us to help Marines on and off the battlefield with some of the more common types of injury," said Cpl. Andrew D. Oden, an administrative clerk with the MEU.
Techniques taught in the Combat Life Saver course are effective and can keep Marines alive in many situations, explained Oden, a native of Longmont, Colo. He said he thinks every Marine should attend the course because the next casualty could be the Marine to anyone's left or right.
"This knowledge really shows Marines and non-medical personnel what we do as corpsmen and how to incorporate and empower them with basic first responder skills so they know how to treat their fellow Marines and sailors," said Rawson. "They will have the confidence and skill set to handle a casualty just as if a well-trained corpsman were doing so."
As a CLS instructor, Rawson had the opportunity to get to know his Marines outside their working environment. By showing them what his job truly consists of, he said it brought him closer to his Marines and built camaraderie.
"After going through this training, I am definitely more confident for our upcoming deployment," said Oden. "Not only do I know my job, but I also know the job of saving another life."
The 22nd MEU is a scalable, multipurpose force of more than 2,200 Marines and sailors. Commanded by Col. Gareth F. Brandl, it consists of its Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, CLB-22; and its Command Element.
The 22nd MEU is scheduled to deploy this spring. For more information about the 22nd MEU, visit the unit's website at www.22meu.usmc.mil.