Senior Airmen Anthony Montejo, a combat medic attached to the
10th Sustainment Brigade, gives Sgt. 1st Class Jason R. Mattke, a
convoy commander, 1157th Transportation Company, some Flexeril Aug.
24, 2012 at Jalalabad Airfield. Photo by Army Sgt. Gregory Williams
AFGHANISTAN (8/30/2012) - A combat medic's job is to provide care
for their patients no matter what branch of service they belong to.
Whether working in a hospital or traveling with a convoy, the
combat medic is responsible for helping the warfighter to stay in
the fight. For Senior Airman Anthony Montejo, a medic attached to
the 10th Sustainment Brigade, the opportunity to live, travel and
treat soldiers is a rare one.
“This is my first tour as a
combat medic, which is cool because I get to experience what it
feels like to be a Army soldier,” Montejo said. “Most Air Force
medics won't get to experience this so I'm thankful for this
The Houston, Texas, native has served in
the Air Force medical corps for six
years and went from treating pilots to caring for soldiers during
his current tour in southern Afghanistan.
“I'm here to support these guys in whatever way I can so
that they can be able to do their job, so it's like the Army
says, ‘One team, One fight” right,” Montejo said.
“I don't care if I have to guard their gear or clear a .50-cal
machine gun, I'm here as a part of a team. It's also cool to get in
the huddle and hooah blast with the guys too.”
Joint Expeditionary Tasking Program, an Air Force medic has to
complete combat skills training or combat airmen skills training to
deploy in support of an Army medical mission.
completing their training, airmen will be attached to an Army
medical brigade or unit, taking on the traditional role of a combat
For soldiers in the field, this still provides an
individual who has more experience than soldiers who've completed a
combat life savers course.
“You never know when medical
evacuation support is going to show up so to me I don't care what
uniform the medic wears as long as they get the job done,” said
Spc. Andrew Freeman, a truck driver with the 1157th
Transportation Company. “Everybody on a convoy may be CLS qualified,
but this is his profession.”
Freeman said he has gone out
with Montejo on a convoy before and one thing that has impressed him
is how personal the medic can be with soldiers.
“He's not shy
and not afraid to get to know people,” Freeman said. “You know how
some medics will shut up in the back of a vehicle, that's not
Montejo. He doesn't just tag along for the ride.”
said he gets to know soldiers better because inquiring about past
injuries allows him have medication readily available if any
“A lot of the soldiers I deal with usually
have sleep issues, headaches and motion sickness so I want to always
have medication on hand,” Montejo said.
comfortable the soldiers are, the less mistakes we'll have out on
the road. I don't want my truck falling off a cliff.”
never predict a convoy's time frame, which can take any where from
three to twenty hours to complete.
Scanning the area for
enemy activity for long periods of time can take a toll on a
soldiers health out in the field.
“We're out on the road for
16 hours a day so of course we're going to have problems with our
bodies,” Freeman said. “Montejo‘s here to help us get through the
mission and no matter how big the problem is he's not afraid to get
out there to help us.”
Montejo said his faith in God and
speaking to his wife on Skype helps him stay focused because he's
doing something few airmen medics get to do.
“Being away from
my wife is hard so to do a job that most airmen wouldn't be
accustomed to doing, on top of that, demands me being more focused,”
Montejo said. “Even though I know I have nothing to prove to anybody
I just feel like I want to show the soldiers that the Air Force
aren't just paper pushers.”
For Montejo being a combat medic
is more than just knowing what the appropriate dosage is needed to
treat his patients. It's the chance to live, travel and talk with
soldiers that helps him to be the best combat medic he can be.
By Army Sgt. Gregory Williams
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