Story by Brandon Steinert
Photos by Brandon Steinert and Joe Vinduska
When the lives of our nation’s brave service men and women are on the line in a combat zone overseas, sometimes the closest thing they will see to a paramedic is a fellow soldier. That’s why Barton Community College has made it a priority to provide top-notch emergency medical skills to soldiers through Combat Lifesaver (CLS) training.
Soldiers at Fort Leavenworth received the week-long training in late June. The rigorous curriculum consists of 35-40 hours of didactic and practical training, from written tests and classroom work to in-field practice that simulates emergency situations under fire. In the high-pressure, time-constrained scenarios, soldiers are tasked with controlling bleeding, managing airways, treating penetrating chest trauma and initiating evacuation.
“You never know when it’s going to happen,” said Pvt. Chelsea Fry, who underwent CLS training for the first time in June. “This is definitely really hands-on.”
NCO Burt Welch, who secured the training session with Barton for the 256th MP Company, said the skillset taught to the soldiers during CLS training is invaluable.
“These classes can help save lives,” he said. “The value of that is hard to quantify. It also offers a great breadth of opportunities, as many will have skills to use when they start looking for work after their time in the military.”
Barton’s Executive Director of Technical and Military Programs John Truitt said the course has been offered at Fort Leavenworth for about five years. It’s also available at several other military bases across the United States with plans in place to expand the course offerings even further.
Truitt said the growth of the course is a direct response to an increase in demand for training because of a higher rate of deployments. He said Barton does its best to be responsive to the needs of the communities it serves.