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Marines receive basic lifesaving training

12 May 2009 | Pfc. Jeremy Fasci

Marines from different companies in Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division were given the opportunity to build the skills needed to save lives in combat and noncombat environments here April 13 – 17 during the Combat Life Saver Course.

Giving Marines the abilities necessary for quick life-saving scenarios can help others stay alive when there is no corpsman available.

“The main goal for us as corpsmen when teaching this course is to help Marines be comfortable enough to do anything they have to do in tactical or non tactical situation that involves helping somebody,” said Seaman Nicholas S. Place, 22, a corpsman with HQ Bn., and an instructor for the course.

The week-long course familiarizes the Marines with life-saving techniques that they may have to use to help a fellow Marine.

“When I was deployed with an engineer company, the majority of the (Marines) were certified from the Combat Life Saver Course and I really envied that,” said Cpl. Jeremiah C. Robertson, 21, a student in the course with Communications Co., Headquarters Battalion, who is from Pearisburg, Va.

The usefulness of this training is not limited just to combat situations.

“The things they teach us through this course can be used in the civilian world as well as military operations,” said Lance Cpl. Maurice L. Steele, 27, a student in the course with Truck Co. B., HQ Bn. who is from Memphis, Tenn.

One of the biggest challenges for the Marines during the course is giving intravenous fluids.

“I have a fear of needles, and it made me a little worried when I found out that we were going to be giving IV’s during the course,” said Robertson.  “Doing them made me a lot more comfortable with needles, which I know is necessary when it comes down to a situation where someone’s life depends on an IV.”

Teaching the Marines how to apply basic life-saving skills helps them overcome the fear of providing medical assistance without formal training in medicine.

“The class helps you become more comfortable doing things that you may not have felt comfortable doing before because you actually have an idea of what needs to be done,” said Place, who is from Colorado Springs, Colo. “In a way, it helps Marines overcome those fears (since) they don’t know what to do.  They are scared; once you know what to do, it’s easy.”

The course can leave a lasting impression on students by giving them abilities to use when put into unlikely situations.

“I think this course is important because every Marine should have a good idea of what to do in any given situation,” said Robertson.  “This is one of those tools that you can use to always be prepared for any situation.”