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Gunnery Sgt. Joel R. Garcia, from Petersburg, Texas and an assessments chief with I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD), applies a tourniquet to himself during the Combat Lifesavers Course, at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Aug. 18.

Photo by Cpl. Megan Sindelar

Marines take lifesavers course to stay prepared

29 Aug 2010 | Cpl. Megan Sindelar

Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD) learned basic trauma lifesaving skills during the Combat Lifesavers Course at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Aug. 18-30.

Three Navy hospital corpsmen from I MEF (FWD) and I Marine Logistics Group (FWD) volunteered to teach every other weekday, four hours a night.

“This course will give Marines a better awareness of what they will see on the battle field,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin R. Viramontes, a hospital corpsman with I MEF Headquarters Group (FWD). “It will allow Marines to be more comfortable while they assist fellow Marines.”

CLS is designed to provide Marines in the field the knowledge to treat trauma and injuries to maintain life until they reach medical care. The course will also teach students potentially lifesaving techniques, such as treating hemorrhages, burns and casualty evacuations.

The practice application included everything from applying a tourniquet to inserting intravenous needles into one another.

Viramontes, from La Puente, Calif., said the practice is a great way to understand the material shown in classroom instruction. He added the one-on-one hands-on instruction made the lessons more personal and he was able to make sure that each student learned and completely understood the information he presented.

“I wanted to take this course because I wanted to be able to confidently take the measures and go about saving a life,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joel R. Garcia, an assessments chief with I MEF (FWD). “The small lifesavers course we had for pre-deployment training was the first I heard of the course. It got me interested in the material.”

Garcia, from Petersburg, Texas, added he hopes more Marines did will attend the course.

“I am learning a lot and I will inform everyone what I am getting out of this class while pushing more Marines to take it,” Garcia said.

“I hope Marines who take this class and put in this situation are able to react from repetition and saving a Marine’s life,” Viramontes said.