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Feature Stories

NEWS | May 12, 2020

Soldier Recertifies 31 Combat Medics

By Story by Sgt. Andrew Valenza Task Force Spartan

The flight paramedics of Camp Buehring are always ready to save lives, thanks to Sgt. First Class Joseph Stringer.  Stringer, from the 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion under Task Force Spartan, was recently recognized for his work as a combat medic at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.  Thanks to Stinger's efforts, 31 combat medics are now re-certified in their field.

According to Stringer, the training was American Red Cross Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or American Hospital Association CPR, and it is the lowest level class for health care providers when dealing with cardiac arrest.

"We cover chest compressions, rescue breathing, [Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)] use, choking hazards, and narcotic overdoses in both individual and team settings both in and out of the hospital," said Stringer. 

Stringer also said U.S. Army policy says combat medics must re-certify every two years. With the recent transfer of authority of Task Force Spartan Shield to the 42nd Infantry Division Stringer became the only Red Cross Certified Instructor at Camp Buehring and the only one left to complete the training for his Soldiers.  The biggest challenge with re-certifying is making time for the class and handling many students without negatively impacting the mission, explained Springer. 

"Being the only instructor, I was limited on how many I could teach at one time, so I ended up having to teach six classes over three days," said Stringer.

According to Stringer, it is extremely important for combat medics to maintain their certifications. "All medical personnel in the Army are required to hold this certification." said Stringer.  "If it expires, they can lose their license to practice or their other certifications to perform their medical jobs. If that happened, multiple units across Task Force Spartan and U.S. Central Command would have degraded capabilities, he added."

Stringer believes that the flight crews he works with are the best in the U.S Army and go through extensive schooling and are always ready to operate.

"Our team of Critical Care Flight Paramedics are some of the most highly-trained enlisted medical staff in the U.S. Army," said Stinger.  "Beyond being a medic, our [Additional Skill Identifier] requires us to attend over 10 months of rigorous training in emergency medicine and critical care skills. Once we complete that, we have to learn how to fly on and perform aircrew duties on a UH-60 Blackhawk. A medical Blackhawk has most of the same skills as a hospital Intensive Care Unit, but it is squeezed into a small box where you can't stand up. We keep flight crews on duty 24/7 and are ready to transport patients at a moment's notice, he added.”

Stringer was recognized by the 42nd Infantry Division commanding general Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari and senior enlisted leader Command Sgt. Maj. Corey Cush for his excellent work and dedication to the readiness of his Soldiers and his unit with a division coin.