By Spc. Cassandra Groce, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
KIRKUK, Iraq – The Combat Lifesavers course, an advanced first aid class taught to Coalition Forces, is now being taught to all Iraqi Army basic trainees at the K1 training facility near Kirkuk, Iraq.
Originally Coalition Forces taught Combat Lifesavers course, CLS, exclusively to the K1 leadership.
“Initially we came out to teach a CLS course,” said Staff Sgt. Kai Hagren, the CLS instructor at K1 who is attached to the 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. “We started the course, and it became a hit. It was helping people. So we kept it as a weekly class and started teaching it to the basic trainees.”
Upon reviewing the Basic Combat Training schedule, Hagren and Sgt. Ryan Deringer, the non-commissioned officer in charge of overseeing basic combat training at K1, replaced basic first aid with CLS.
“They already had two days of first aid and a free day,” explained Hagren. “We thought it would be in their benefit to take that one day, change the schedule around and make it three days of CLS instead of just two days of first aid.”
Soldiers learn a range of topics from basic anatomy and physiology to how bullets affect the body.
“It’s all there,” said Hagren. “We teach setting broken bones to gunshot wounds.”
The first class of CLS-qualified basic trainees recently graduated the K1 course, and now hundreds of soldiers are CLS trained and capable of helping their comrades. Several students have already used the lessons they learned “A soldier had a heat injury during training, and the students took care of him,” said Deringer. “They did a very good job, loosening his clothing and pouring water on him.”
Teaching CLS to the Iraqi Army trainees gives them the tools they need to increase their efficiency and capabilities.