National Guardsmen learn life-saving combat skills

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

National Guardsmen in the Golden Coyote training exercises learned life saving field techniques on Monday.

They participated in the Combat Lifesaver Course. On the battlefield, a fraction of a second can make the difference between life and death. The goal of the three-day-long course is to equip soldiers with the skills to aid wounded comrades if field medics aren't available.

Guardsmen learn how apply tourniquets, basic first aid, and how to remove fallen comrades from the field without hurting themselves in the process. 

According to Washington D.C. National Guard Staff Sergeant Yvette Jones, equipping soldiers with the skills can greatly reduce the numbers of casualties on the battle field.

"In the battlefield, bleeding is the number one cause of casualties," said Jones. "If we can train soldiers how to stop that bleeding, we can have more soldiers survive any instances that happen."

The skills gained during the exercise span beyond the front lines however. Some like Staff Sergeant Jeff Soukup play in the Army Band. Although he isn't in a direct combat role, he says having the skills to save a life prepares soldiers for any situation.

"Well it's army band, but it's always army first. There's always army before band, and it's always army before musician," said Soukup. "Those are the things that the army is all about. We're soldiers, so we need to be able to [engage in] combat and life saving skills, firing weapons, qualifying of all of military equipment."

Soukup also says saving lives in the simulation builds trust, which is something crucial for those working together on the front lines

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