Army SPC Michael N. Dodson wanted to be a flight medic. Before his deployment to Iraq, he had been accepted into flight training, but was unable to attend before he was deployed.
Once in Iraq, SPC Dodson was a ground combat medic for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He was assigned to the Troop Medical Clinic inside the wire.
SPC Dodson asked about openings for flight medics and learned that a medical evacuation unit was looking for additional personnel. Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment had a slot open for a flight medic. Dodson secured a transfer and began on the job training.
"It's not unusual for ground medics to get on the job training to be flight medics," said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Morris, a pilot who works with Dodson. "Sometimes they go through school before they arrive. More often than not, a commander will see an outstanding ground medic and will recommend him to be a flight medic."
Learning on the job while in a combat zone presents its own challenges. In a combat zone, training is done while flying, not in theory. And, the increased risk is inherent.
Those who work with him, said SPC Dodson was a quick study. "There's a lot of stuff we have to know, and he has to know. Some guys take a week to learn it, some take a month. Well, Dodson was one of these guys that the next morning you wake up and he's there filling your ear with all the stuff that he's supposed to know," Morris said.
Dodson says he's been doing what he joined the Army for - saving lives. "There are people walking around out here that wouldn't have been walking around if 3-25 and medevac hadn't been there to help them," said SPC Dodson.
Thank you, SPC Dodson, for being there!!!
Edited from an article by
Spc. Daniel Bearl, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Public Affairs.