MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. — The 5th Armored Brigade Combat Lifesaver program is designed to provide all war fighters with the basic skills necessary to aid fellow service members who are injured in combat.
Due to the ever-evolving battlefield, the CLS program has updated its tactics, techniques and procedures since 2003.
“Since February of 2003, the 5th Armored Brigade Medical Training Team has trained over 32,000 Combat Lifesavers for deployment,” said Master Sgt. Vance Switzer, Medical Training Team noncommissioned officer in charge. “At our highest [operational tempo], we distributed over 170 pallets of fully-stocked CLS bags to outgoing units, while sustaining [ongoing] medical training and support missions on two forward operating bases, for two brigade combat teams simultaneously at Fort Bliss.”
The current medical training team consists of eight combat medics. In addition to managing the brigade’s medical supply operations, 24-hour medical range support and medical trainer mentor staffing, the team’s most high-profile mission is to provide realistic combat lifesaver training.
The Combat Lifesaver program consists of an intensive four-day model of hands-on instruction, testing and a culminating field problem. Units from every branch of the military benefit from a wide range of instructor experience and strong knowledge base, including contracted Team Bliss assistant instructors who keep the student-to-instructor ratio as close to six-to-one as possible.
Upon completion of CLS training, war fighters receive program cards, certificates and the ability to provide medical assistance and immediate care under fire.
“Additionally, we developed the Combat Medic Mentorship Program, a peer-driven effort to prepare Army Reserve/National Guard combat medics for their theater-specific missions. CMMP was established in 2006 as a forum to enhance the lessons learned by combat-experienced medics and shorten the learning curve for novice ones,” said Switzer. “Since then, we’ve conducted a total of 53 four-day CMMP courses and trained 236 medics, corpsmen, [physician assistants] and physicians in a broad variety of best practices for medical care.”
In 2007, the medical training team established a fully functional Medical Simulation Training Center at McGregor Range for medical providers to practice their craft prior to deployment.
“For a unit this size to have accomplished what we have during this period of crisis in American history speaks volumes of the character, initiative, and resolve of the U.S. soldier,” said Switzer. “I speak for everyone that has ever been involved with this program when I say it’s truly been an honor.”