Bluemirage

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Hi everyone,

I noticed that alot of board members on this Military Medicine forum have at one stage or another, been a combat medic or have worked with combat medics before. I am interested in joining the Army/AF reserves as a medic. I am a premed who has completed a bachelor's degree and a masters degree but I am not a U.S. citizen (just a permanent resident) so I am not elegible to be an officer. The Army website is pretty vague about training time frames, day to day duties and time commitment for alot of positions including this one. Here are my questions:

1) After finishing training as a combat medic, is one qualified as an EMT-B , EMT-I or ENT-Paramedic? (on their website it just states registered for NREMT) How long is the training?

2) What is the amount of time commitment in the reserves that one owes to the army/AF after training? How difficult is it to become an office after I receive my citizenship (I will be >30 years old by then)?

3)I anticipate entering medical school in 2007...will being in the reserves interfere with medical school? Can anyone comment on their experiences as a combat medic eg did you enjoy your work, interesting anecdotes etc. Did you feel your experience was valuable for medical school?

4) What are some interesting units to be a reserve medic for eg Special Forces, Rangers, Armored Corp??

Thanks in advance for your help

Bluemirage
 

cdreed

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I was an AF medic. I received an EMT-B for my training, but while you're serving you will be given the opportunity to extend your training to the intermediate or paramedic level if you wish. Training will entail that you complete basic training (6wks in the AF or 12wks Army) then go to "technical school" (ie EMT training). In this AF, we did about 3 months of EMT training/cert followed by 3 months of clinical training in AF med facilities.

I don't know about reserve time commitments. I enlisted for four years active duty but was released before my commitment was up to attend med school. To become an officer you may have to take a qualification test (called the AFOQT in the AF). I was commissioned after I was accepted in med school and received the HPSP. Once commissioned, you will have to attend an Officer's training course (COT in the AF for med personnel).

If you're in the reserves and not sponsored by them to attend school, then it could interfere with your education. I know reservists who've been called to duty, taken out of school, and sent to Iraq. They'll have to put their med education on hold until they return. Others have taken the reserve or guard scholarship to attend school. In this category, you do not have to worry about being called to active duty until after graduation.

I enjoyed being an AF medic. My daily duties were very similar to those of a civilian nurse. I did EKGs, gave injections, started IVs, sutures, mole/toenail removals, etc. I'm glad that I had so much clinical experience prior to med school because it's made my classes much more meaningful. On a side note, I believe that Army medics are much more like the combat medic that you speak of. They are usually attached to a platoon and act as a primary/first line of healthcare for them. I dated an Army medic years ago- served in Panama, Desert Storm. He was an Airborne Ranger and really enjoyed himself. He's much more gung-ho than me... hence my duty in the AF.

Hope this helps some.

Cyndi

Bluemirage said:
Hi everyone,

I noticed that alot of board members on this Military Medicine forum have at one stage or another, been a combat medic or have worked with combat medics before. I am interested in joining the Army/AF reserves as a medic. I am a premed who has completed a bachelor's degree and a masters degree but I am not a U.S. citizen (just a permanent resident) so I am not elegible to be an officer. The Army website is pretty vague about training time frames, day to day duties and time commitment for alot of positions including this one. Here are my questions:

1) After finishing training as a combat medic, is one qualified as an EMT-B , EMT-I or ENT-Paramedic? (on their website it just states registered for NREMT) How long is the training?

2) What is the amount of time commitment in the reserves that one owes to the army/AF after training? How difficult is it to become an office after I receive my citizenship (I will be >30 years old by then)?

3)I anticipate entering medical school in 2007...will being in the reserves interfere with medical school? Can anyone comment on their experiences as a combat medic eg did you enjoy your work, interesting anecdotes etc. Did you feel your experience was valuable for medical school?

4) What are some interesting units to be a reserve medic for eg Special Forces, Rangers, Armored Corp??

Thanks in advance for your help

Bluemirage
 

NGDOC

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Feb 2, 2005
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Bluemirage said:
Hi everyone,

I noticed that alot of board members on this Military Medicine forum have at one stage or another, been a combat medic or have worked with combat medics before. I am interested in joining the Army/AF reserves as a medic. I am a premed who has completed a bachelor's degree and a masters degree but I am not a U.S. citizen (just a permanent resident) so I am not elegible to be an officer. The Army website is pretty vague about training time frames, day to day duties and time commitment for alot of positions including this one. Here are my questions:

1) After finishing training as a combat medic, is one qualified as an EMT-B , EMT-I or ENT-Paramedic? (on their website it just states registered for NREMT) How long is the training?

2) What is the amount of time commitment in the reserves that one owes to the army/AF after training? How difficult is it to become an office after I receive my citizenship (I will be >30 years old by then)?

3)I anticipate entering medical school in 2007...will being in the reserves interfere with medical school? Can anyone comment on their experiences as a combat medic eg did you enjoy your work, interesting anecdotes etc. Did you feel your experience was valuable for medical school?

4) What are some interesting units to be a reserve medic for eg Special Forces, Rangers, Armored Corp??

Thanks in advance for your help

Bluemirage


I am not in medical school yet but I can offer you some info about being an Army Guard Medic. First off, the Reserves of today are mainly adminstrative or Medical units. There are Special Forces units in the Reserves but the chances of getting into one are slim. The bulk of the combat arms units are in the Guard. There are many different opportunities if that is what your looking for. Armor, Cav, Airborne, Artillery, Infanty, ect...are open to medics.

For your questions,
1) Training will last around 6 months for the Army. Thats 9weeks for Basic Training and then ~16 weeks for medic training at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. Your first month at Ft. Sam will be devoted to teaching and passing the EMT-B certification test. Even though your only an EMT-B, the scope will be similar to an EMT-P while on duty.

2) The time commitment is usually 2-3 days a month, and then the 2 weeks during the summer. If the drill interfers with a civilian activily, you might be able to change your weekends and still receive credit for drilling. It all depends on the commander. Speaking of officers, to become one in the Guard, 90 credit hours are needed and a 13 month program called OCS must be taken. Im pretty sure that it requires 2, 2-week periods and one weekend a month for 13 months.

3) The only thing I can think of for this would be deployments. The Army doesnt care if your in school, your a Soldier first. This means that you could be pulled from Med School if your unit were to deploy and this could force you to rethink your decision.

4) As I stated before, there are Special Forces reserve units. Rangers are an entirely different story. The only way to get a spot in Ranger school is to spend time in the Ranger Battalion which requires an active duty commitment. No chance if you wanted to stick with the Reserves.

Good luck with your decision. I know joining the Guard was one of the best decisions of my life. Talk to recruiters but do your own research.
 
OP
Bluemirage

Bluemirage

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Thanks NGDOC and cdreed for sharing your detailed responses!

NGDOC: I'm not necessarily looking to be in the front lines where the intense combat is but I would like to be at least be trained in combat as thoroughly as some of the best soldiers so that if I ever get deployed and the medical unit is under attack I can adaquately defend myself and the medical facilities. I have some follow up questions:
1)Are medics allowed to take extra elective combat training without having to actually be in Airbourne, Special Forces/ Rangers etc?

2)What kind of procedures/hands experience (sutures? Airways? IV's?)will I receive as an Army Medic? How long is the training, if I chose to do the paramedic training (EMT-P)? I'm really looking to learn as much clinical stuff as I can so that I will be thoroughly prepared for medical school and surgery rotations (I'm interested to specialize in a surgical/procedure orientated field).It won't hurt to have this in my application EC's either!

3) Do you think medical schools will look down on my application, anticipating my deployment during school, if they saw that I'm the reserves? If I'm activated for active duty while I'm attending medical school, is the school obligated to hold my spot upon my return? Or can they legally release it to someone else? Is there a limit to the amount of times for deployment during the six year reserve commitment?

4) If I move for medical school, is it pretty easy for me to transfer my duties to another military base?

cdreed: Since you've been an AF medic and dated an army combat medic, can you compare any differences in the clinical experiences between AF and army medics? Sounds like you had some great clinical experiences during your time! I think the advantage of going through medic training for me is that whether I choose AF or army I can stay exactly where I am! (I live in San Antonio TX - I'll be either at BAM-C or Wilford Hall) I wonder if I am allowed to go home everyday during my medic training?

Thanks again for your generous time in answering all of my questions
 

NGDOC

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Feb 2, 2005
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Bluemirage said:
Thanks NGDOC and cdreed for sharing your detailed responses!

NGDOC: I'm not necessarily looking to be in the front lines where the intense combat is but I would like to be at least be trained in combat as thoroughly as some of the best soldiers so that if I ever get deployed and the medical unit is under attack I can adaquately defend myself and the medical facilities. I have some follow up questions:
1)Are medics allowed to take extra elective combat training without having to actually be in Airbourne, Special Forces/ Rangers etc?

2)What kind of procedures/hands experience (sutures? Airways? IV's?)will I receive as an Army Medic? How long is the training, if I chose to do the paramedic training (EMT-P)? I'm really looking to learn as much clinical stuff as I can so that I will be thoroughly prepared for medical school and surgery rotations (I'm interested to specialize in a surgical/procedure orientated field).It won't hurt to have this in my application EC's either!

3) Do you think medical schools will look down on my application, anticipating my deployment during school, if they saw that I'm the reserves? If I'm activated for active duty while I'm attending medical school, is the school obligated to hold my spot upon my return? Or can they legally release it to someone else? Is there a limit to the amount of times for deployment during the six year reserve commitment?

4) If I move for medical school, is it pretty easy for me to transfer my duties to another military base?

cdreed: Since you've been an AF medic and dated an army combat medic, can you compare any differences in the clinical experiences between AF and army medics? Sounds like you had some great clinical experiences during your time! I think the advantage of going through medic training for me is that whether I choose AF or army I can stay exactly where I am! (I live in San Antonio TX - I'll be either at BAM-C or Wilford Hall) I wonder if I am allowed to go home everyday during my medic training?

Thanks again for your generous time in answering all of my questions
Well I'll just go down the list again. No matter your branch in the Army, every soldier goes through the same training. You will be living and learning with soldiers destined for Active duty, the Reserves, and the National Guard. On the topic of defense, it is against the Geneva Convention for medical personnel to carry an offensive weapon. This doesnt mean that you wont be trained on the Army's offensive arsenal. During basic you will shoot the M-16, SAW, M-203, and the AT4. Mind you that the 203 and AT4 are HE rounds and you will only fire simulators. For the 203, paint rounds will be used. The AT4 will have one soldier firing a live round (which is very cool to see. Think loud whistle, big boom) while you fire 9mm tracer rounds. Personally, I carry an M-9 which is a 9mm pistol. It is only to be used for defense of myself and my patients. If it is used to fire openly on an enemy combatant, I will lose my neutrality and become an active combatant. Not like the Insurgents care if your medic or not, just giving you the rules of war. I have seen medics who are assigned to ambulances carry m-16s but that is an entirely different situation.

On your question of extra training. The only way for a medic to recieve extra training without going to schools if to be assigned to an infantry unit. You would do everything the grunts do and hopefully learn alot about the Army's combat doctrine. A drawback of this would be the high probability for the deployment of such units, considering the need for infantry boots in Iraq.

The training for Army medics takes around 16 weeks. During that time, the main focus of instruction will be on patching holes, maintaining an airway, and administering tourniquets. The use of IVs, injections, and cricothyroidectomy (sp?) are also taught. Sutures and other internal procedures will not be preformed by you so are therefore not taught to you. There are two days during training where you will head to either the base hospital or the TMC, which is a battalion level clinic. Although Fort Sam's TMC is used by the entire base. During your time there, under the supervision of nurses and PAs, you will be allowed to practice your skills on actual patients (Soldiers, family member, even your fellow 91W classmates).

There is no possibility of becoming an EMT-P through the army. There is an additional course you can take after graduation of the 91W. Called the 91W-M6 program, it will take an additional year of training at Fort Sam but during that year, you will become a certified LPN. Thats as far as initial enlisted training will go.

I am not sure how medical schools will look upon your service, but my theory is that it will never hurt to have your service provided on an application. If you are deployed while in med school, your spot is saved for you through a federal program. The same goes with jobs. You will simply return your last courses and start as if you never left. As for a limit on the amount of time spent on active duty, it is usually 1 year active, 2 years home although I have seen in the news a bill in which the amount of time on active duty by the reserve compnent soldiers would be unlimited. Who knows how thats going to work out.

In the Guard, you likely wont work on a base but at a unit. A building designated to one or more companies. Moving shouldnt have become a problem as long as you can find a unit that needs a medic. You will have to have permission from your unit commander but its unlikely that they will stop you from transfering (Pending deployments will likely stop the transfer).

Finally, you will not be allowed to return home every night. Your stay for 91W training is highly regulated. During the first month the entire company is on Phase 4 (Phase 1, 2, and 3 during basic). Phase 4 means total lockdown. The DS will march the company anywhere you need to go. Weekends are spent in the barracks cleaning the floors and shining boots. After the initial month, the company graduates to Phase 5. This means that you are able to leave the base on weekends (if you can sneak it, weekdays too) and will only be marched in the morning and when returning to the barracks. A month or two later, the company will once again graduate but this time to Phase 5+. This phase is transitioning you into the Army life, your allowed free roam of the base, the use of cars (except Delta who doesnt allow them) and the freedom to basically do whatever you want. During Phase 5 and 5+, you will still be required to stay in the barracks, but after class ends (usually around 1500 - 1600) you can drive off base and visit your family. You will need to be back by 2100.

I hope these answers will help you decide which branch you are most interested in. If you have anymore, please feel free to ask them and I will do my best to tell you what I know.