I am officially certified as a Combat Lifesaver, a skill I hope that I never have to use. Not that I am unsure of my ability in doing so, but only because if I am using this newly acquired skill it means that someone has been hurt and needs some assistance. But it is an important skill for every Soldier to have, especially in the midst of a long war. It is so important that the Army now certifies all Soldiers as CLS prior to them leaving basic training. It is slightly above the normal first aid tasks that I learned at basic training eight years ago or so, but a little more in depth and includes learning how to do an IV and how to relieve a tension pneumothorax using a needle-chest decompression. In the end, it was good training and I think all the Soldiers received good training from knowledgeable instructors that have hand-on experience treating casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the other reasons for this journal is to introduce many of the Soldiers of Task Force 334. One person that I seem to get along with so far is Joshua Stumpf. Some call him West Virginia because they think that he is from West Virginia. He is actually from Pennsylvania, but went to school at West Virginia University. This lends well to an automatic rivalry due to the fact that I went to the University of Connecticut, but this is not really a big deal. Anyway, I think one of the reasons that I get along so well with him is because he reminds me of my friend Tyson from back home. We have a similar sense of humor, and if not for having to keep an eye on Albert for the next year and if Henry hadn’t claimed him in September, he is someone that I can see myself sharing a CHU with for a year in Iraq.
One reason we got to know each other a little better was because we stood next to each other in formation during RTC in October and ridiculed all the ridiculousness that we were experiencing at the time. It is really nice to know that it is possible to meet people and become fast friends in a short period of time, and it is a good thing because you know that it is one more person you can rely on should bad things begin happening when we are deployed. This is one situation where the Army Reserve’s need to cross-level to fill deploying units ends up working out for the best.