Teen Medic Thrives on Aiding Others
(July 29, 2009)
July 24, 2009 -
Army Spc. Amanda Cleveland, a medic for the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, describes the importance of pressure in stopping blood loss during first-aid training at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. Cleveland has trained nearly 1,000 soldiers in Task Force Keystone leading up to and during a nine-month deployment to Iraq.
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq,
July 24, 2009
Army Spc. Amanda Cleveland is a
self-described simple girl who is "not into drama." But it's
tough for an Army medic to avoid dramatic situations,
especially during a deployment to Iraq.
Cleveland's comrades say it is her ability to consistently
help people -- not the drama -- that drives the
Williamsport, Pa., native to excel at her job.
Cleveland graduated from high school in 2007 at 17 and
immediately took on basic combat training and combat medical
"I really wanted to go into the medical field and wasn't
sure how I was going to do it," she said. "A recruiter was
able to get me into the health care field and give me a
$20,000 bonus on top of it."
Cleveland was 18 when her six months of rigorous medical
training began. She admits being a bit nervous. "It was the
longest time I had ever been away from my family," she said.
"I don't know if I could have graduated if it had not been
for a few older friends I had made who shared their previous
experiences with me."
While at training, she learned the ins-and-outs of emergency
medicine and basic medical skills. She recalled one
exercise, which she called "blood lanes." |
"We went through these blood lanes where we had to treat
mock casualties in a stressful environment," she explained.
"It was fast-paced training, and we had to deal with them
screaming, among other things."
Cleveland went through similar training at the regional
medical training site at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., in
preparation for her nine-month deployment here, where she is
serving with Task Force Keystone. Leading up to the
three-month, pre-deployment mobilization, she was one of
several medics tasked with training 28th Combat Aviation
Brigade soldiers in basic combat medical skills. The
training allows each soldier to act as a bridge between an
emergency and the arrival of a medic -- often the most
critical time in ensuring a patient's survival.
Her supervisor, Army Sgt. 1st Class Collin Bowser of
Indiana, Pa., said Cleveland is extremely proficient at
"She has done an excellent job teaching several hundred
soldiers the basics of first aid," he said. "And these are
mostly soldiers who are novices at this stuff and have
minimal medical experience."
Cleveland is humble about her teaching ability, but is quick
to acknowledge the importance of it. "I really enjoy
teaching, but it's not always easy keeping a student's
attention because I'm not a dominating person," she said. "I
just keep reminding myself that what I am teaching these
soldiers will not only affect them, but also the people they
may have to save. I may be helping my students save a life."
Cleveland is the primary instructor of the 28th Combat
Aviation Brigade's first aid refresher course here, which is
taught monthly to a rotation of soldiers. When she is not
training, she is receiving clinical experience in her unit's
medical clinic. She takes vital signs, screens patients,
performs asthma treatments and stitches sutures.
During her 12-hour shifts, she uses
July 24, 2009 -
Army Spc. Amanda Cleveland, a medic for the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, shows Army Sgt. Seth Cantler how to hold the needle while he “sticks” Army Spc. Christopher Leonard during combat lifesaver training at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq.
downtime to write home. Many soldiers here
use e-mail, but Cleveland prefers to put pen to
"I like to physically write letters for two reasons. First,
some of my family members are technologically impaired," she
joked. "But really it just feels more personal. It feels
good to have that letter in your hand, knowing there was
more time and energy put into it."|
Article and photo by Army Sgt. James Waltz|
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity
Special to American Forces Press Service
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