USS GERMANTOWN, At Sea -- Knowledge is unbiased and non-exclusive; anyone can learn, but it is up to the learner to want that knowledge. On any given day, knowledge can be the difference between life and death.
Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and crew members of the USS Germantown (LSD 42) underwent a combat lifesaver course here, July 4.
The medical course saw nearly 30 service members from Combat Logistics Battalion 31 and Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, both of the 31st MEU, work with Sailors from
Germantown to complete the three days of instruction. The syllabus covered everything from splinting a fractured limb to the application of a tourniquet to stop an arterial bleed.
“This wasn’t a mandatory class; we wanted to come and learn skills that are a step up from the medical training we received in boot camp,” said Lance Cpl. Troy J. Gifford, a radio operator with communications platoon, CLB-31, 31st MEU, and native of Manahawkin, NJ. “This is something we all find important and want to know for the future.”
The initial two days of the course consisted of classroom instruction totaling six hours and ending with a 25-question written test. The final day was dedicated to practical application exercise of their newly-learned medical skills, including the treatment of a missing limb and a gunshot wound to the chest under simulated combat conditions.
While the medical training was geared toward operating in combat situations, some of the procedures can be tailored to civilian life.
“Every Marine has the chance of deploying to combat, but this class doesn’t cater strictly to combat wounds,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Barbara E. Millers, lead instructor for the course and a corpsman with CLB-31, 31st MEU, and native of Clymer, N.Y. “For example, students learn how to open and clear an obstructed airway, (which is) a technique they can use anywhere if need be. By taking this class, they’re not just preparing their medical skills for combat, but for wherever they are.”
The course was one of many conducted by the 31st MEU that invited Germantown crew members to participate. The combined training helps solidify the amphibious team.
“There have been multiple events that have been opened to both green and blue sides of the ship, such as (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) classes and instructions on the ship’s armaments,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kiel R. Barnott, machinist mate with Auxiliary Division, Engineering Department, USS Germantown, and native of Ft. Myers, Fla. “It strengthens that ‘blue-green team’ essential for joint amphibious operations.”
The 31st MEU is currently deployed on the three ships of Amphibious Squadron 11 in support of a regularly scheduled patrol of the Asia Pacific region.