Combat Life Saving

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The Role of the Combat Lifesaver (CLS)

As a Soldier in the United States Army, you are the first link in a chain of trained professionals, delivering higher and higher levels of treatment. As the first responder, your initial care is crucial to successful treatment. To that end, it is your duty to be proficient in Combat Lifesaving skills. If your buddy lies injured on the battlefield, quite possibility the only thing that is going to save him is you and your ability to use the skills you learn in CLS training.

Every U.S. Army Soldier is issued an Improved First Aid Kit, or IFAK. This kit is a far more advanced medical kit than the typical basic first aid kit you may be familiar with in the civilian world. Your IFAK includes equipment to treat the most common life threatening battlefield injuries you will see in the theater. The treatments that require this equipment also are typically more sever requiring more than basic first aid. For instance, to maintain an open airway in an unconscious casualty, you should use the Head Tilt, Chin Lift maneuver. However, in the battlefield, you may have to continue treating other life threatening wounds.

Another item you will find in your IFAK is an Asherman Chest Seal. You will learn to use this device on a casualty that is suffering Tension Pneumothorax. Pneumothorax is the buildup of gases in the lungs caused by a "sucking wound" to the chest, allowing air to seep into the lungs and be trapped. The steady increase of pressure will cause the casualty to have increasingly shallow breathing until they cannot breathe any longer. By inserting this needle into the pleural space of the casualty, you can release that gas and save their life.

By practicing the treatments you are about to learn and mastering the contents of your IFAK, you will be an effective lifesaver and Soldier in the field.

Combat Lifesaving

Every Solder who is Combat Lifesaving (CLS) trained is able to stop wounds Soldiers suffer on the battlefield form getting progressively worse. A Soldier who is bleeding will steadily loose health and if not treated quickly, could fall unconscious or even die. It is essential to the success of the mission, that every Solider is functioning to his or her best ability. That is where CLS treatment comes into the picture.

Identifying a Wounded Soldier

Injured Soldier BFT Icon
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Injured Soldier BFT Icon

If a Soldier is wounded, he or she will appear as a red blood drop on a field of white on the Blue Force Tracker (BFT). If they are bleeding, their icon will flash. The sooner they are treated the less health they will loose. When a Soldier is wounded he or she will also loose some mobility or accuracy. Treating that Soldier will restore some of the lost mobility and accuracy.


Treating a Wounded Soldier

To treat a wounded Soldier, approach the Soldier and look at them. You will see a contextual prompt that will let you know when you are in range. Press and hold the space bar to begin treatment. You will see one progress bar for each wound the player has suffered. When a progress bar has filled, that wound has been treated and Combat Lifesaver will move on to the next wound automatically. If, for any reason treatment is stopped before a wound is treated, all progress on it will be lost unless the player resumes treatment within 10 seconds. Even if you have spent your IFAK on reviving a player (see below), there is no limit to how many times you can treat wounded players in a round.

Treatment Process
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Treatment Process









Reviving Incapacitated Soldiers

Incapacitated Soldier BFT Icon
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Incapacitated Soldier BFT Icon

If a Soldier is incapacitated due to wounds or blood loss, they will remain lying on the ground unable to move. An incapacitated Soldier will show as a white blood drop on a red background on the Blue Force Tracker (BFT). It is your responsibility to revive the Soldier and return them to action. There are four symptoms that can incapacitate the Soldier, as well as four treatments which can revive the player. Those symptoms and related treatments are:

Wound/Condition Treatment
Pale SkinSmelling Salts
Labored MovementSplint
Shallow BreathingOropharyngeal Airway
Weak PulseSaline IV










To revive an incapacitated Soldier, approach them as you would a wounded Soldier. Press and hold "Space". This will bring up a radial menu with the four treatment options from above. Select the proper treatment and the Soldier will be revived. Note that a CLS trained player may only revive one Soldier per round. If you choose the improper treatment, your IFAK is used and you cannot revive the Soldier. Another player must make the attempt. Once revived, you will still need to treat the Soldier's wounds. Use the standard treatment procedure for treating a conscious Soldier to treat their wounds.

Incapacitated Player
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Incapacitated Player
CLS Radial Menu
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CLS Radial Menu

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