Army Couple Teaches Lifesaving Skills
(August 23, 2010)
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq, Aug. 19, 2010 - Making sure all 5,200 soldiers in the
103rd Sustainment Command's 3rd Sustainment Brigade, are qualified in combat
lifesaving is a daunting task, but Army Spc. Joshua Fillingane and his wife,
Army Spc. Andrea Fillingane, make it look easy.
“They work well together,” said Army Staff Sgt. Michael Tindal, a brigade
emergency care noncommissioned officer and Manning, S.C., native. “You can
see their teamwork during the class. They take things from their
relationship at home and bring them to work.”
Joshua, the brigade's primary combat lifesaver instructor and a Fairmont,
Minn., native, met Andrea, an aid station specialist and Austin, Texas,
native, while attending advanced individual training in 2007.
“In AIT, we didn't really hang out a lot,” Andrea said. “He flirted with me
and asked me out, but I told him no. But once we went home to our reserve
units, I found out that I actually missed him.”
Army Spc. Joshua Fillingane and his wife, Army Spc. Andrea Fillingane, teach proper needle-chest decompression techniques to soldiers July 25, 2010, at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
Joshua said he and Andrea started dating over the phone.
“She decided to visit for four days and never left,” Joshua said. “We were
married a couple months after that.”
A few months after their marriage, they both went into active duty. They said
being married has helped them both at home and on the job.
“I know what he's best at, and he knows what I am best at,” Andrea said. “A lot
of the time, we don't even have to discuss it, because we already know who's
going to do what. We work together a lot, so we know each other better. It makes
things easier for us.”
Their NCOs think the situation is beneficial to the brigade by having them work
together on such an important aspect of training.
“Since before I ever arrived at the unit, they have worked together on CLS and
other projects, and it has just worked for the unit,” said Army Staff Sgt.
Tricia Watkins, a medical platoon sergeant and Sacramento, Calif., native. “They
work well together. They know the material. They work different facets of the
class and balance each other out.”
This is the couple's first deployment. They said they wouldn't have wanted to
deploy without each other.
“It makes [deployment] easier,” Andrea said. “You have someone to lean on and
help you cope with everything you face.”
Around 90 percent of combat deaths occur on the battlefield before casualties
reach a medical treatment facility, according to the Army combat lifesavers
course manual. This is why the Army requires every soldier heading into a combat
zone to receive CLS training.
Operation Iraqi Freedom will transition into Operation New Dawn on Sept. 1, and
the number of troops in Iraq will be about 50,000 by then. This means the 3rd
Sustainment Brigade will provide the primary CLS instructors for northern and
central Iraq, Tindal said. This will put the Fillinganes in charge of training
nearly 20 percent of U.S. forces in Iraq.
“It makes me feel good that my NCOs trust us to do what we need to do to get the
job done,” Joshua said. “It's a big responsibility.”
Both specialists said part of the reason they love their job is because they are
“I love working with her,” Joshua said. “It makes the job a lot easier, having
someone there. When things go bad, I know I have someone there that I can rely
on heavily to make things go right.”
Article and photo by Army Spc. Gaelen Lowers
3rd Sustainment Brigade
American Forces Press Service
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