University of Tampa and U.S. Army Team Up to Train Combat Medics

On June 14, the Army Medical Department School of Health Readiness and the University of Tampa PA Medicine program (UTPAM) collaborated on a training for combat medics. Known in the military as “68 Whiskeys” (68W), the combat medic specialists are primarily responsible for providing emergency medical treatment at the point of wounding on the battlefield, limited primary care, and coordination of evacuation from the battlefield or location of injury to a higher level of medical care.

Photo credit: Melissa Culp

Combat medics are often called upon during peacetime to provide humanitarian aid during natural or other disasters or during wartime to provide medical care to foreign nationals. They must therefore maintain their primary care knowledge and skills as well as emergency medical skills. This is accomplished through 16 weeks of initial advanced individual training. Following initial training, and to keep their medic qualification current, they must certify annually. This is often completed through the 68W sustainment readiness-training program (SRTP). The United States Army Reserve 7222nd Medical Support Unit based in Tampa, Florida, is one of the sites that conducts this training quarterly, reviewing both trauma and emergency medical tasks.

When CPT Johnna Yealy, department chair of the UTPAM program, assumed the role of medical officer in charge of SRTP training for the 7222nd, she saw an opportunity to bring together her civilian and military roles. While planning the training with SFC Case Dewinkle, SRTP course coordinator and training coordinator for the 7222nd, they realized they would need to use simulators for the emergency childbirth practical exercise — simulators that the University of Tampa had available as well as a host of other task trainers. As department chair, Yealy was able to organize access and instruction with this equipment.

“There is no doubt that these medics will deliver a baby at some point in their military career, either during a natural disaster response or while stationed on a base in wartime, so this training is invaluable in increasing their ability and confidence in this essential skill,” stated Dewinkle.

To round out the training day, the medics received suturing instruction and practice as well as an update on chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) exposure and treatment, including a tour of the CBRNE incident ambulance.

The event was such a success that UTPAM and the Army’s School of Health Readiness are discussing partnering on future trainings.