Airmen, Soldiers Come Together To Train As They Fight
(October 12, 2010)
FORT DIX, N.J. (Oct. 1, 2010) – When it is pouring down rain, windy and a little
cold, the last thing anyone wants to do is carry someone around on a litter or
crawl through ankle-deep mud.|
Members of both the Army and the Air Force came together to accomplish this
task in order to finish their weeklong CLS course at Fort Dix, N.J., Oct. 1.
Not only did the two services have to work together as a team, but they also
overcame several obstacles and faced dynamic weather conditions.
“Joint training is important because it ensures we are able to perform
cohesively in joint operations,” said Sgt. Angie Smith, a broadcast
journalist. “Especially during situations like this where service members
have to come together to care for one another in a combat environment.”
Air Force Maj. Chara Ballard, assigned to Joint Task Force Combating
Terrorism based out of Washington, said the soldiers and airmen underwent
three basic phases of combat care during the course. The phases were - care
under fire, tactical field
Members of the Army and Air Force come together during their Combat Lifesaver Course, here, Oct. 1, 2010 to complete an obstacle course as a joint team. The service members joined together to overcome not only the course's obstacles but also such things as weather and working in a team that had only been training together for a week.
care and evacuation. Each phase incorporated basic tasks and techniques the
service members were taught throughout the course, as well as basic movement
tactics, techniques and procedures.
“CLS is important to anyone, regardless of what type of uniform they wear,” said
Ballard, a Briar, Wash., native. “Having universal procedures for care under
fire is key.” Ballard also stated Air Force members learned a lot about how to
conduct patrols from their Army counterparts because the Air Force doesn't
typically train for ground tactics.|
“CLS is essential to both forces because as a collective and unified force, our
first priority as a combat lifesaver is to save lives,” said Smith, a Charlotte,
N.C. native. “The CLS training is developed to increase our survivability during
Airman 1st Class Chayne Vandezande, a computer programmer attached to the Air
Force Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, based out of
Montgomery, Ala., said training with and under the Army personnel is definitely
an eye-opening experience.
“I've always had a mutual respect for every branch of the military, but I've
never actually seen it ‘til I got here to Fort Dix for training,” said
Vandezande, a South Bend, Ind., native. “It's very critical to work with
different branches because downrange we will be working with every branch, as
well as the Afghan National Army. It's good to get this training now and have
that exposure to the other branches. That way we are better prepared for it when
we go downrange.”
Not only did the two services join forces during the CLS training to complete
the course, they had to work together to overcome each obstacle in the
confidence course, including the wind and the rain.
“A lot of people in the service look at the uniforms and we know that we are
different from one another, but (during the training), we saw it as a civilian
would and only saw one uniform,” Vandezande said. “We all worked together very
The services split into two teams, allowing members of each service to trade
places to create a joint training aspect. From there, they conducted a walking
patrol scenario to find and recover an injured casualty. They had to overcome
each of the obstacles while reacting to direct and indirect fire throughout the
“Once we recovered the casualty, we put him on a litter and then had to lift him
over a high wall, which required a lot of teamwork,” Vandezande said. “From
there, we went through a narrow passage and then had to lower our casualty into
Vandezande also said the teams navigated over a couple of low walls and then low
crawled under concertina wire soaking them in mud and rain.
“The hardest aspect of the training was performing care under fire during the
litter carry exercise,” said Smith, assigned to the 210th Mobile Public Affairs
Detachment, based out of Cary, N.C. “Under such pressure, it was difficult to
evaluate and administer care in a battlefield situation while maintaining focus
of the mission.”
After the teams reached the collection point, they had to call in a medical
evacuation to simulate recovering the casualty.
“The whole process was based entirely on teamwork and how well the teams
communicated and worked together,” said Vandezande. “Security was definitely one
of the biggest issues. Without security, we wouldn't have had just one casualty,
we would have had 19.”
Both Ballard and Vandezande agreed that working in a joint training environment
was beneficial, not only to the services, but also to their missions overseas as
well. They added they look forward to more training like this in the future.
Article and photo by Army Spc. Charlotte Fitzgerald
345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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