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National Guardsman from Dixon studies first aid before deployment
National Guardsman from Dixon studies first aid before deployment

Missouri National Guard Spc. Steven Brown, left, and Spc. Chris Herriman, right, practice applying bandages on Sgt. Cody Connor during a combat lifesaver course.
DIXON, Mo. (April 13, 2010) — About two weeks before their impending deployment to Balad, Iraq, Spc. Steven Brown, who lives in Dixon, and 10 other Missouri National Guardsmen brushed up on their first aid skills.

These soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the Lebanon-based 3-135th Theater Aviation Battalion graduated from the Army’s Combat Lifesaver Course. The instruction lasts 40 hours and is the bridge between first aid taught to soldiers in basic training and the medical training given to a combat medic.

“I enjoyed the practice with the real-world scenarios,” Brown said of the training. “I’m a firefighter for the city of Dixon, so the training all falls together.”

Combat lifesavers are nonmedical soldiers who provide lifesaving measures as a secondary mission. The course is taken annually by each Missouri Guardsman, and every soldier takes the course prior to deployment.

Staff Sgt. Richard Bryant and his wife, Sgt. Lani Bryant, both from Detachment 1 of the Missouri Army National Guard Medical Detachment based in Neosho, were the unit’s instructors. They have been teaching this version of the course they wrote for a few months.

“The main emphasis is that they get enough medical training to hopefully help their fellow soldiers in times of need,” Richard Bryant said. “I hope that the little bit of information that we do give them is enough that they can prevent someone from dying.”

The Bryants, combat medics for nine years in the National Guard, said the most important thing they hope the soldiers take away from the course is the variety of ways to control bleeding.

“We teach soldiers to improvise on the battlefield,” Richard Bryant said.

“It is important to us, because all the soldiers we train are family,” Lani Bryant added.

This is the second time Brown has gone through the Combat Lifesaver Course, and he said he learned much more the second time around.

“A lot of what I missed the first time was because we had a very large group that wasn’t organized,” Brown said. “This class was very organized, was all on time, was presented very well and we each received a lot more individual attention. Therefore, we learned a lot more.”

Preparing for his first deployment, Brown said he thinks receiving the refresher instruction before going into theater is important so soldiers can easily use what they already know.

“The instruction will be fresh in you mind still, so it should just click — it should be just second nature,” he said.

The course culminated with an exercise that simulated combat injury extractions while taking fire from the enemy.

“The scenario went very well and gave us more real-world experience,” Brown said. “One thing that would have improved on that would have been to make it more realistic with soldiers playing as opposing forces, but that was hard to do with so few of us. But overall, it was very good. I think some of the guys took away a lot from it.”

Brown was impressed by the versatility of the Israeli Bandage, a consolidation bandage that includes a non-stick pad, pressure applicator, secondary sterile dressing and closure bar.

“I’ve actually talked to my fire chief about getting some of those,” Brown said. “You can use those as a pressure dressing and you can use it on just about any part of the body.”

Under the command of Capt. Seth Everett, who lives in St. Louis, the 3-135th is slated to deploy to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Its mission is to provide command and control, supervision, staff planning and unit level personnel service and logistical support for all units that belong to or are attached to the theater aviation battalion.

As part of its 24-hours-a-day mission, the unit will perform command and control for 11 C-23 Sherpas, four C-12 Hurons and one UC-35 Cessna Citation. Through the use of these fixed-wing aircraft, the unit will provide a forward deployed aviation battalion, which provides air movement of cargo, personnel, and military/civilian dignitaries from the United States, NATO, and Iraq, throughout Iraq and the Central Command Area.

These Guardsmen also will be responsible for the flight following, air tasking orders, mission scheduling, and diplomatic flight clearances for all aircraft assigned to the battalion.

The unit previously deployed to Balad in 2005. There, it provided theater airlift support throughout the entire Central Command Area of Operations to include, Iraq, Qatar, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Europe and 21 other countries in Africa.

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