Combat lifesavers prepare for Operation New Dawn

Story and photos by Spc. Matthew Dornbusch, 1204th Aviation Support Battalion

Spc. Adam Stoppplewerth (right) teaches how to make an improvised tourniquet using a cravat and a stick on Pvt. Brian Hall while Staff Sgt. Dennis Deatly supervises. (photo by Spc. Matthew Dornbusch, 1204th Aviation Support Battalion)

FORT HOOD, Tx. – Before deploying in support of Operation New Dawn members of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 1204th Aviation Support Battalion received some very special training.

A combat lifesaver is a non-medical Soldier trained to provide advanced first aid and lifesaving procedures beyond the level of self-aid or buddy-aid.  This definition however doesn’t stress the importance of these Soldiers’ new role.

“The combat lifesaver is one of the most important soldiers on the battlefield today, as they are typically the first soldiers to respond to casualties,” said 1st Lt. Robert White, 1204th Aviation Support Battalion physician assistant.

The combat lifesaver course — taught to the 1204th troops at Fort Hood, Tx., Oct. 8-9 — included a wide range of techniques ranging from how to control bleeding with tourniquets to moving a casualty without causing further damage.

Sgt. Jon Krull demonstrates how to apply and properly place a tourniquet on the arm of Spc. Marcus Evans during a combat lifesaver course at Fort Hood, Tx. (Photo by Spc. Matthew Dornbusch, 1204th Aviation Support Battalion)

“The right medical intervention at the right time is how medics save lives. Treatment with tourniquets to stop major bleeding from extremities has reduced the number of preventable deaths significantly,” said Sgt. Jon Krull. “Teaching the combat lifesaver students the correct steps will help sustain the casualty until they can receive proper medical treatment.”

“It is vital that combat lifesavers know how to treat the four most common preventable causes of death on the battlefield today, bleeding, tension pneumothorax, airway complications, and hypothermia,” said Staff Sgt. Dennis Deatly, the battalion’s treatment non-commissioned officer.

Combat lifesavers can be the link between life and death. Medics can’t always be present, a fact that the Army has come to realize.  Combat lifesaver training is unique, proficient, and yields results.

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