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Corporal Michael C. Hartwig, motor transportation operator, practices inserting a catheter into the arm of Cpl. Jacob A. Johnson, motor transportation licensing non-commissioned officer in charge, both from Headquarters and Support Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, during a Combat Life-saving Skills course aboard the USS Rushmore, Aug. 23. Hartwig, 24, is from Fort Atkinson, Wis., and Johnson, 25, is from Coalville, Ill.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers

Marines learn valuable life-saving skills

24 Aug 2012 | Lance Cpl Timothy Childers

Corpsmen spend countless days learning the skill and developing the resolve needed to save Marines in the heat of battle. However, Marines may not always have a Corpsman by their side and need to know basic life-saving skills.

Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit completed a Combat Life-saving Course aboard the USS Rushmore, Aug. 24, to learn the necessary skills that could be the life-or-death difference of another warrior. The course was given during the 15th MEU and Amphibious Ready Group’s Certification Exercise, the final training evolution before the unit deploys later this year.

The four-day course taught service members the basic level of Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The troops learned how to perform a number of life-saving procedures including hemorrhaging control, clearing airways, giving intravenous care and treating sucking chest wounds. Additionally, they learned the basics of stabilizing a patient for transportation to a medical treatment facility.

“We want Marines to be prepared medically for combat,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class William B. Imperial, corpsman and CLS coordinator, Health Services Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th MEU. “In case a Corpsman goes down or they have multiple casualties at one time, we need Marines to step-up and provide initial care.”

The first three days of the course consisted of lectures, demonstrations and practical applications before the final day, where the Marines tested their knowledge. Unlike ordinary tests, CLS instructors tried to provide a stressful environment while the service members completed a number of casualty scenarios in full combat gear.

“The evaluation was intense,” said Cpl. Michael C. Hartwig, motor transportation operator, Headquarters and Support Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th MEU. “The instructors yell at you so you learn how to deal with the stress that comes while treating a patient under fire in the heat of battle. What we learned is what we will need to know if the time comes.”

The medical team aboard the USS Rushmore plan to have all Marines on the ship medically-ready and CLS qualified before the unit deploys in September.

“I think everyone should take the course, Marines and sailors,” added Hartwig, a 24 year-old native of Fort Atkinson, Wis. “I learned many things I didn’t know how to do until now. There is always something you can work on.”

“I love teaching Marines,” added Imperial, the 25 year-old Manila, Philippines native. “Teaching them helps me. It makes me feel more confident these Marines can save others and not only that, I can trust my own life with them.”



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