SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Joint Task Force- Bravo's Medical Element (MEDEL) taught a combat life saver (CLS) and recertification course to more than 46 Soldiers and Airmen here, January 6-9.
"This was the first time that I was given a chance to help teach this class and everyone seemed to learn a lot," said U.S. Army Specialist Ariana Braganza, a combat medic and one of the five instructors for the course. "This class was twice the size of what we usually have but the students in the class cooperated very well, were attentive and participated throughout the training. There was also a lot of hands-on learning, which helps to keep the students engaged."
The combat lifesaver course teaches Soldiers and Airmen how to care for casualties in several circumstances, including care under fire and tactical field care. The students learn how and when to place a tourniquet, how to control bleeding, how to check for breathing and manage an airway, how to complete a needle decompression in the event of a collapsed lung, how to use a litter, how to transport a casualty, how to request a medical evacuation, and what equipment should be in the CLS bags they are issued.
The students take an exam to pass the class and also go through a culminating exercise that combines all the skills they learned. For this class, the culminating exercise consisted of rescuing a casualty while under fire while instructors yelled at them to simulate stress.
"The practical exercise was the best part for the students because they get a chance to see the stress that combat medics go through," said U.S. Army Specialist Nikkia Hinton, a combat medic and course instructor. "It was also a really good chance for us, as the instructors, to be on the other side and to push the Soldiers and Airmen so they could get some perspective of what it is like to provide medical aid in a stressful combat situation."
MEDEL is made up of 61 Army personnel who have come together from all over the United States. In the last seven months, MEDEL has taught the CLS course three times to U.S. military personnel here as well as an additional three times for the Honduran military.
MEDEL has also provided medical care to over 3,500 Hondurans over the last six months. MEDEL provides preventative medical care, wellness check-ups, dental care, preventative dental care, surgical care, and physical therapy through local partnerships in Comayagua and through Medical Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) which are carried out on a weekly basis.