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Saving lives one Marine at a time

21 Sep 2006 | Pfc. Joseph D. Day

“Help, Help I have been hit, some please help me,” said one Marine as he played the role of a casualty.  Sound effects of small arms fire and explosions filled the ears of all who were in the simulation.

Marines attending combat lifesavers course here, rushed through trees and bushes to perform medical treatment to those with simulated injuries.  The injured were triaged and the combat lifesavers performed first aid to stabilize the victims and moved them to a secure location.

Cpl. Eric Myers, a communications technician, carried a Marine from of the woods using one of the many carries taught during the course.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Martin A. Shepherd yelled, “Get down. Enemy fire. Take cover. Take cover.”  Sounds got louder and louder as Myers tried to get his fellow Marine to a more
secure location.

Myers carried the Marine to an open field where he started performing advanced first aid on his comrades other combat lifesavers emerged from the woods with another victim.
They set up a triage point and prioritized the victims based on who needed to be evacuated first.

“I wanted to make it as real as I possibly could,” said Shepherd, a corpsman and Combat Lifesaver Course Instructor.  “The only way for the Marines to know what is going to happen out in the desert is for them to do it in a life like situation.”

Patients all over the landing zone were screaming in pain.  Combat lifesavers moved among the casualties checking their vital signs as they waited for a helicopter evacuate the injured.  Myers checked over two victims as the helicopters approached.

“I put fake wounds on their arms, legs, and all over to make it look like a real injury,” Shepherd said.  “I have the tools to make these Marines think that these people are really hurt.  The more realistic it is the more the combat lifesavers get into it and try their hardest to fix their brother and sister Marines.”

Shepherd told the Marines the helicopter had landed and they had 15 seconds to get the first injured Marine there.  Myers put a critically injured Marine over his shoulder and ran to the helicopter.  He put him in and returned back to assist other Marines until more help came from the humvees.

“This is the first time in a year and a half that I have done this type of practical application,” Shepherd said. “I want it to be real good.  These Marines will have to deal with many different types of injuries at one time.  There will be more injured then there are lifesavers on the scene.  This isn’t going to be easy for them.  If it was easy then they wouldn’t learn anything from it.”

The combat lifesavers stabilized the rest of the victims and awaited the arrival of the humvees.  Shepherd finally called the group together as the simulation ended.
He asked how long they thought the practical application took.  The answers varied from eight minutes to 25 minutes.  Shepherd with a slight chuckle said it took 48 minutes.

“For the first time running through a situation like this, they did really well,” Shepherd said.  “Corpsmen go through training all the time to perfect it.  They had a four day course and did everything they could to keep their fellow Marines alive.  When it comes down to it, that is all you can do.  Do your best and get more help as fast as possible.  I am really proud of this group of Marines they did more then I could expect of them.”