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Navy Medical Experts Offer Combat Lifesaver Training to SPS-17 Troops

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristen Cheyenne Yarber

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PUERTO CASTILLA, Honduras (NNS) -- Navy doctors and hospital corpsmen held a Combat Lifesaver (CLS) training course for service members deployed as part of Southern Partnership Station 17 (SPS 17), August 8, at Base Naval de Puerto Castilla, a Honduran naval base.

The medical professionals provided the valuable course, which teaches non-medical personnel lifesaving techniques, in the event that hospital corpsmen are not available in combat casualty situations.

"If there's a mass casualty, or the corpsman is injured, or the corpsman is not available, you teach CLS so that Marines, Seabees or whoever can sustain life," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kara Irons, the command tactical combat casualty care program manager at Naval Health Clinic Quantico.

She said usually only two hospital corpsmen deploy with a standard combat unit, which creates a demand for non-medical members to have casualty response training.

Irons taught the CLS course in the SPS 17 tent camp, alongside Lt. Bianca Chun, the senior medical officer and family medicine doctor at Naval Branch Health Clinic, Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The medical team provided training information in a presentation and used medical equipment, such as training tourniquets, as realistic training aids for the class.

The course covered multiple topics, such as proper application of an IV tube, how to administer a nasopharyngeal airway tube, and how to apply tourniquets to control bleeding.

"I focus on hemorrhaging," said Irons. "Because that's the most likely thing that's going to be the cause of death."

The first two days of the three-day CLS class consisted of education and practical application of techniques. The third day, however, contained a realistic combat mass casualty simulation.

"We're going to try to disorient you, to try to create mass confusion," said Irons.

The training event tested the students' ability to operate under a stressful and chaotic environment.

One of the course attendees, Logistics Specialist 1st Class Justin McClelland, supply leading petty officer for the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment, spoke about the valuable information the course provides, for situations in and out of the military.

"I think it is beneficial to anywhere I may go with the Navy in the future," said McClelland. "Also, I think it's beneficial to have this knowledge in the civilian sector too."

Service members can request to enroll in the CLS course by contacting their local medical treatment facility, to determine when classes are available.

USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT supports USSOUTHCOM's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central, and South American regions.

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