By Lori Newman
Brooke Army Medical Center
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, March 16, 2015 – Brooke Army Medical Center here currently has the only Joint Emergency Medical Technician Sustainment Training within the Defense Department.
Known as JEST, the joint program delivers emergency medical refresher training to more than 550 Army health care specialists and Air Force aerospace medical service technicians each year through a combination of classroom instruction and field training.
“We are proud to host this invaluable joint sustainment training at BAMC,” said Army Col. Evan Renz, BAMC commander. “It helps to foster teamwork and keep our skills sharp.”
Army and Air Force personnel train together to meet the annual requirement set forth by the Department of Transportation and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The sustainment training also meets respective Army and Air Force regulations.
“The Army does everything the Air Force does, and the Air Force does everything the Army does,” said Army Staff Sgt. Brian Cummings, noncommissioned officer in charge of the course.
“Everybody gets a taste of what the other service is doing,” he said.
Students receive 48 credit hours for the training. Five days of PowerPoint, lecture and hands-on in the classroom at BAMC and one day of field validation at nearby Camp Bullis.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Heidi Quigley, 959th Medical Group EMT/RSV coordinator said she is the “go-to” training scheduler for almost 300 assigned Air Force medics. “The JEST programs primary focus is more tactical field care and evacuation, which I feel is a definite plus,” she said. “It’s more realistic. It adds that stress factor to it.”
Course Participants Train as Teams
At Camp Bullis, the students are divided into teams of four or five. They must move tactically through wooded terrain while encountering simulated artillery fire. Once the team reaches the casualties they must provide tactical field care, call for evacuation, move the casualties to an evacuation site and brief the ambulance team on the status of each patient.
“The goal is to get that all done and get each patient to any definitive care within an hour. We call it the golden hour of care,” Cummings said.
Following the tactical field exercise, instructors brief the students on their performance.
Army Sgt. Malourdes Galusha, a reservist with the 5501st U.S. Army Hospital said she really enjoyed the training because of the field experience.
‘Eventful and Knowledge-enriching’ Training
“It was very eventful and knowledge-enriching,” Galusha said.
“The benefit of training jointly is that the different forces will always be on the same page, train on the same equipment and follow the same procedures when we are in a combat zone in theater,” said Army Staff Sgt. Juan Leyva, who went through the JEST course for the first time.
Air Force Senior Airman Lucas Reaume agreed.
“It’s a lot more in depth,” he said. “It allows us to come out in the field and learn how to treat [trauma], things we would see in the field on a deployment.”
Reaume added, “It’s a confidence booster knowing that you can perform under stress and take care of your patients.”
BAMC has conducted the joint EMT sustainment training program since August 2013.
“This is a unique and ever-changing program. We are constantly doing something different, trying to make it better,” Cummings said.
He added, “This could be a great pilot program for other joint bases to follow. It works and we have received a lot of great feedback about the program from both Air Force and Army personnel.”