Search This Blog

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The creation of the American Soldier - Initiation part 5 (91B School)

My Advanced Individual Training (AIT) was located in the beautiful city of San Antonio, Texas.  Home to the Riverwalk and a night life that is vivid and energetic.  However, most of my time would not be spent strolling the streets of San Antonio, but rather engrossed in the education and training it takes to become a Combat Medic.  The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) back in 1997 when I attended was 91B, that MOS has slowly morphed into what is now the Health Care Specialist, 68W.  Currently, in the present, 68W must pass and maintain the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (Basic) to stay qualified in their MOS.  When I went through 91B school, that was not a requirement, but the training has not changed dramatically, although there have been more advanced medical skills slowly integrated into the Health Care Specialist MOS. 

The time at Fort Sam Houston was somewhat like at Leonard Wood in Missouri.  We still had to live the regimented lifestyle of being in a training environment.  I recall many drill instructors in basic saying we would be living in two man rooms, with TV, and it would be more like a 9-5 job.  There is no such thing in the military, don't listen to anyone that tells you that.  There may be certain guidelines they try to follow for closing business at the end of a work day, but you are never off, only when you have left post and are home on leave.  And even then, they can reach out and snatch you if needed.  But still, the military is a great life for many.  And many make great careers out of it and accomplish extraordinary achievements during service.

Those few months in Texas were meaningful and the training was good, and again, they did everything in their power to make each soldier successful.  However, as much cerebral power as it took to get through basic training, it took ten times that to make it through the Combat Medic school.  Not everyone can be a medic, or in military intelligence, or go to a military linguist school.  There are certain cutoff scores within the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test that need to be exceeded in order to be accepted into certain schools, they do not fill those slots with anyone, but the intellectual standards are not extremely difficult to meet.

This would be another situation in life where I would be put into situations that were very uncomfortable, but were necessary to become competent at all the skills taught.  We learned to stick IVs on each other, how to give intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal injections, how to assess medical casualties and how to assess trauma casualties, along with many, many other basic medical skills from measuring vital signs to splinting extremities after injury.

It certainly prepared me for my first duty station, but it didn't prepare me to understand medicine, that would come many years later.

No comments:

Post a Comment