OSW conducts largest combat lifesaver course of the year

August 13, 2013
Soldiers participating in Operation Sustainment Warrior carry a litter towards an obstacle during the litter obstacle course Aug. 8th 2013 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The combat lifesaver course at OSW is the "largest CLS class in the Army," said Maj. Rodger Woodruff, 77th Sustainment Brigade, officer in charge of OSW. OSW is a training event, hosted by the 77th SB, to provide participants with a realistic combat training experience. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Terri Q. Reece/Released)

Story by Sgt. Alejandro Canizales
361st Public Affairs Operations Center

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHUSRT, N.J. – More than 400 U.S. Army Reserve soldiers combed the fields of a land navigation range during a medical battlefield exercise, part of the combat lifesaver course that Operation Sustainment Warrior 2013 conducted here.
The 77th Sustainment Brigade here hosted OSW 2013, which included the largest CLS training event so far this fiscal year, from Aug. 6 to Aug. 8, said Army Maj. Rodger A. Woodruff with 77th SB and officer in charge for OSW.
This training is one of OSW’s 12 separate events that range from live-fire exercises to a career fair.
Five companies strong, Alpha through Echo, the OSW trainees, under the command of the 77th Sustainment Brigade, are participating in the CLS course.
“We could not do this with the Army alone so that’s why we partner with the Air Force [and] the Coast Guard,” said Col. Joyce B. Junior, commander of the 77th SB.
In fact, 15 airmen, two Coast Guardsmen and 10 Army instructors participated along with 467 trainees, said Army Sgt. James W. Ramsay, a healthcare specialist with the 327th Medical Command here.
“It definitely helps having the other branches of the Armed Forces with us because they have their own input and their insight,” said Pvt. Charles Seabolt, a soldier participating in the course.
“We’re getting really good ideas exchanges here,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer David Bartolini, a healthcare specialist with the 87th Medical group here. “[The Army] attack comes from battlefield medicine and ours is more of…what you would see in a typical emergency room.”
The course was divided over three days. Tuesday entailed the classroom portion, preparing soldiers with the knowledge from the Army CLS manual. On Wednesday, soldiers were able to apply that knowledge in realistic training events held outdoors in Doughboy Field here.
“CLS helps you have practical solutions, where you can use your every day items, not just items you are equipped with, to solve those problems,” said Pfc. Jose De la Cruz of the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. De la Cruz also partook as a trainee in the CLS course.
The CLS course teaches several life-saving battlefield medical techniques including tourniquet application, opening and managing a casualty’s airway and treatment of open chest wounds. Additionally, the course taught military protocol on safely moving and transporting a casualty and requesting a medical evacuation into and out of a combat situation.
“I think more people should learn this kind of information because it will save a life,” said Bartolini.
The final part of the course on Thursday consisted of a written exam and an obstacle course where soldiers had to perform emergency medical procedures to treat simulated wounds on service members and casualties. Smoke grenades, flash bangs, insurgents, barbed wire and imulated .50-caliber machine guns were implemented to emulate a realistic combat environment said Ramsay.
With hundreds of soldiers becoming CLS certified, OSW 2013, a two-week exercise, marched through its midpoint victorious in its goal to make the Army Reserve a more effective and proficient fighting force.
“I will always remember this training,” said Spc. Kobie Edelin, a fuel supply specialist with the 947th Quartermaster Company in Chambersburg, Pa. “Ten years from now, I will remember this was the best training ever.”
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