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Trial by Fire as Cadets Learn First Aid Skills Critical in Combat

By: Mariyah Wojcik

Cadet Kyle Rash of Michigan State University acts as a medic during first aid training. As a simulated IED blast occurs, Rash covers a fellow cadet, Nathan Meyer of MSU, who has a simulated leg injury. U.S. Army Photo by Jenny Hale.

 

FORT KNOX, Kentucky (June 13, 2015) – The powder blue sky is pierced by the sounds of simulated IED explosions and gunfire as CLC cadets bravely enter the depths of Heard Park on June 13. This is no ordinary combat exercise. This is first aid training at its most realistic.

By definition, no accident is ever planned, and emergency situations occur most often when you least expect it. Cadets learn how to apply basic, life-saving techniques that are useful both in combat situations and in everyday emergencies, such as vehicle accidents.

“We are going after outcomes,” said Cpt. Anthony Perizzo, a cadre member present at the training exercise. “By combining specific medical training with scenario training, cadets can develop technical and tactical competence and the ability to problem solve within their teams.”

After days of briefings and classroom practice, the cadets relish the opportunity to practice their newfound skills in an intense, chaotic setting.

Cadre members demonstrate the proper way to treat a leg injury during a simulated firefight. U.S. Army Photo by Jenny Hale.

The mission of this exercise was laid out upon an earthen map raised above ground-level so that direction was clear. The object was to secure a route so that aid could be delivered to the people of a remote area, and to secure support and limit resistance to the new government structure of the area.

This hypothetical scenario closely resembles a situation that cadets would face in reality after they become officers.

“During the training, leadership was not always clear,” said Cadet Ashton Butler of Illinois State University in Normal. “We had enough people for a squad, but we were supposed to act like a platoon. This kind of chaos helps us understand some of the challenges that we might face in the future.”

Cadet Andrew Filipp of Iowa State University assists Cadet Dylan Davis of Clarkson University who has a simulated injury during the first aid exercise. U.S. Army Photo by Jenny Hale.

Saving the life of someone that is injured in combat is not simply a job just for the medic. The perimeter must be secured, arrangements made to move the wounded to safety, and assistance for multiple casualties provided by all able Soldiers. First aid training, like all CST training, is a team effort.

“The cadre have been amazing,” said Cadet Lydia Calvi of Northeastern University in Boston. “We’ve had training from Special Forces, Rangers, and medics. This is really a first class opportunity.”

Cadets have come to realize that first aid training is just as important as other aspects of CST that conjure more excitement, such as marksmanship.

“Multiple people in my team haven’t worked with that much chaos,” said Cadet Andrew Hueston of Indiana University. “I’ve realized just how important life-saving skills are. It’s critical to a mission.”

Through a combination of theory and practice, CLC cadets can lead confidently knowing that they have the ability to persevere through medical emergencies in a coordinated effort.

               

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Mariyah Wojcik

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