CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Marines in Afghanistan face the all too grim reality that their fellow devil dogs could go down at any given moment, falling victim to an improvised explosive device, ambush or sniper attack. If a corpsman is not nearby to render aid, someone will have to jump to the rescue.
Marines with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) acquired those vital skills after completing a five-day Combat Life Savers Course here May 21.
"Part of the CLS program was being able to be a first responder if ever outside of the wire – something as far as amputees, or fractures, sucking chest wounds," said Lance Cpl. Felipe Pech, an Oxnard, Calif. native who is serving as an entry control point sentry with 3rd MAW (FWD). "It's something you learn in boot camp, but we built upon it."
The Marines learned how to treat burns, deal with injuries from improvised explosive devices and administer IVs. Pech said the training was also important for Marines who may actually be the ones who are injured.
"It instills a bit of confidence in them, that way they know, hey, this person has been trained by medical personnel to do what they're doing," he explained. "They know what they're doing. They've spent hours learning on it."
All of these skills will carry on with the Marines beyond their combat deployment.
"Some of this information, like splinting or taking care of extremities, can be taken and applied back in the states," said Pech. "Say you witness an accident or something and you're one of the first people on the scene – you can go ahead and do whatever you can for whoever is hurt. It's good general knowledge to have."
The Marines graduated and returned to their normal duties at their various sections, but they will have to remain vigilant – they never know who may depend on them next.