The combat lifesaver (CL) is a nonmedical Soldier trained to provide emergency care as a secondary mission. Each squad and crew should have at least one member trained to be a Combat Lifesaver. Most organizations train all assigned soldeirs to be combat lifesavers.
The following is extracted from Army Regulation 350-1 , Army Training and Education , 9 April 2003 .
… Immediate, far-forward medical care is essential on a widely dispersed and fluid battlefield to prevent soldiers from dying of wounds. Medical personnel may not be able to reach and apply lifesaving measures to all wounded soldiers in a timely manner. The combat lifesaver is a nonmedical soldier trained to provide lifesaving measures beyond the level of self-aid or buddy-aid. A properly trained combat lifesaver is capable of stabilizing many types of casualties and can slow the deterioration of a wounded soldier’s condition until medical personnel arrive. Functioning as a combat lifesaver is a secondary mission undertaken when the tactical situation permits.
The Army has added Combat Lifesaver training for most soldiers deploying including the soldier that appears in the picture above. The skills include Casualty Excavation, Airway Management, Chest Injury management, Controlling Bleeding, IV therapy (as seen here) and requesting Medical Evacuation.
From the response I received from the soldier pictured, it is a sobering training event that reinforces the reality that the soldiers are deploying to a hostile environment. The initiative to train soldiers in combat lifesaver skills is beneficial in the end as lives are saved.
To me the picture and knowledge of the training are indicators of the difference in the lives of soldiers and civilians. The 19 Year old soldier in the picture has friends that are most concerned with Shopping Mall sales, clothes and material things while the young soldier must learn how to save a life in a combat zone. The dichotomy between lives for todays soldiers, especially citizen soldiers has never been so significant as it is today.