CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. –
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. –– A team of Airmen from the 316th Medical Group placed second in the 13th anniversary of the Medic Rodeo at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., held Aug. 15-18, 2022.
The rodeo, hosted by the 27th Special Operations Wing, is an Air Force-wide competition that puts the skills of Air Force medics to the test through realistic, high-pressure training scenarios. The event provides a platform for joint training that collaboratively enhances readiness of the medical professionals.
“There were 16 teams across 11 major commands competing this year,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Jonathan Patrick, healthcare operations squadron senior enlisted leader and 27th SOW 4N functional manager. “This year, what makes the rodeo different is utilizing those non-clinical medical personnel to have point of injury care, and understanding tactical combat casualty care and prolonged casualty care procedures.”
4N is the specialty code for the Air Force Medical Service, represented by many of the rodeo’s participants and coordinators.
Patrick served as co-chair for the planning team that put the entire rodeo together, and he emphasized how the joint aspect of the training reflects how medics deploy with members from different bases and sometimes different military branches.
This was the first Medic Rodeo since 2019, following a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic. For Air Force Staff Sgt. Kaylee Miller, 316th MDG TCCC program manager, this was her second time attending the competition.
“I went to the Medic Rodeo in 2017 so I had an idea of what to expect,” said Miller. "The Cannon team has done a great job shaping the rodeo to reflect current guidelines and practices to prepare the force."
Miller spoke on the preparation she and her team did prior to arriving in New Mexico.
“Our team trained multiple times a week for five months leading up to the rodeo,” said Miller. “We had tremendous support from our leadership and members willing to coach us. We ran through many TCCC and emergency medical technician scenarios to build our team dynamics and identify roles and responsibilities. As a TCCC and EMT instructor I was able to display a strong foundation and share my knowledge with my team.”
Along with Miller, team members from the 316th MDG included Capt. Matthew Patschull, group practice manager; Staff Sgt. Ryon Boot-Dicks, medical technician, En-Route Patient Staging Facility; and Staff Sgt. Jinnea Hebert, noncommissioned officer in charge of Medical Management. Master Sgt. Benjamin Bates, DiLorenzo Pentagon Health Clinic SEL, served as the team’s coach.
For the first time ever, the Medic Rodeo incorporated Medic-X. The Medic-X initiative incorporates non-clinical medical personnel to train and equip them with knowledge and abilities outside of their core Air Force specialties.
Air Force Lt. Col. Samantha Kelpis, special assistant to the Surgeon General of the Air Force and Medic-X team lead, explained the program was inspired by the call from the National Defense Strategy to prepare for the future fight.
“We realized 70 percent of the medical group is made up of non-clinical members, which we saw as an untapped resource,” said Kelpis. “If we bring everyone up to a certain level of basic skills, everyone can help out and do their part.”
Hebert was one of the non-clinical medics from the 316th MDG team. She described how her experience training in an environment different from her daily duties was a beneficial challenge.
“At times it was intense and exhausting, but there is no better way to test yourself and expand your skill set than stepping outside of your comfort zone,” said Hebert. “With the support and mentorship from my teammates, I take comfort in knowing that I am now better equipped for future contested environments.”
For the 316th MDG, placing second overall was a great achievement, but it was never their primary focus.
“On the day of the closing ceremony, our team’s mindset was no matter how well we scored in the competition, we were all leaving knowing better, having trained better, and can bring it back to our home stations to do better,” said Hebert.
Another way the AFMS is looking to innovate is the incorporation of virtual reality training and the Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit. The BATDOK system uses sensors to allow medics to track a patient’s vitals from their smartphones or other devices. Technological advancements are a primary focus as the career field aims to enhance patient care and technician training.
The Medic Rodeo is scheduled to return next year with more innovative ideas, and dedicated medics who are ready to engage and learn.