The call for “medic” is exactly what you hear when the smoke clears and something terrible has happened on the battlefield. The Army combat medic stands over the wounded and begins to do their job, and saving lives is not simple. What is a Army medic? If you have not served in the Army or military, you probably think a medic is a doctor or a nurse. This is wrong. The Army medic is a highly trained, official MOS in the Army. The medic is not a doctor or even a nurse. A medic is a healthcare specialist who has been highly trained to give basic medical attention and treatment to soldiers in an emergency situation. The medic is an integral part of any combat team.
Army Combat Medic Training
The Army medic receives their training at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. Their training will include 16 weeks of fast-paced emergency medical treatment. The training is very mentally and physically tough. The last of their training will be days of field exercise. This is where they will be tested with lifelike combat medical situations to provide care for killed, wounded, or injured soldiers. This will include hours of combat situations and caring for the wounded, ending in a strenuous mass casualty simulation that lasts for hours. This is as close as a medic will come to actual combat without having been in actual combat.
The Role of an Army Combat Medic
Life for a medic is just as hard as it is for any other soldier in the field. They work long hours and when they’re not working, they’re often on call. In combat they’re often performing their duties under fire. The Geneva Convention protects the medic as long as they do not engage the enemy in combat. But they are still in a combat zone, so this makes the medic’s duties even harder, and they are in as much danger as any other soldier. Since medics often give the first line of medical attention, their main duties are focused on emergency treatment in the field. Their duties also include preparing wounded soldiers for triage, maintaining emergency medical vehicles, evacuation, administering IVs, taking vital signs, and dressing and sterilizing wounds. This may seem like a short list of duties, but they encompass a wide variety of skills that save lives on the battlefield.
The medic is right there in the fight. While soldiers are engaged in combat situations against an enemy, the medics are dressing gunshot wounds, applying tourniquets, and providing basic medical care for troops. Medics not in the field will assist doctors in the hospital, giving shots, administering medicine, preparing blood samples for the lab, taking vital signs, and managing health records.
My Personal Experience with Medics
My personal experience with combat medics has been amazing. It started with some of the best training I have received in the military. This was 2006 in Ft. Bliss, TX, where I received my combat lifesaver training. The medics there were not only very knowledgeable but also very experienced. They had already performed their duties in combat while in Iraq and Afghanistan. We spent the first 3 days of a 5-day school in the classroom learning everything from AVPU to how to place a nasal tube. (Which I must say does hurt!) They also taught us how to place an NCD, or needle chest decompression. We then spent two days of rigorous training in mock combat situations. This was some of the most valuable training I have received in my military time.
I have been wounded twice in combat. When those incidents occurred, the medics were there and performed their duties well above and beyond belief. In 2015, the medics not only saved my leg but my life as well by placing numerous tourniquets on an IED-wounded leg.
They Do Not Receive Enough Credit
For me, the army combat medic never seem to get enough credit for the amazing jobs they do. They should always be highly respected for the jobs they do. The job that they do is just as important as the infantryman engaging the enemy in combat. Combat soldiers, protect your medics as if they were your very own child. Defend them to your end. To the medics who I have deployed with who have been there with the wounded and with me when I was wounded, I give my highest debt of gratitude and thanks. If not for you, I would not be here today!