Medics become first to complete new Paramedic course on Fort Benning

Shown are students who completed the first Track II Paramedic course sponsored by Southern Union State Community College, Martin Army Community Hospital, and the Fort Benning Army Continuing Education Center. Front row (l-r) Sgt. Sabrina Hernandez, Sgt, Steve Miller, and Spc. Ryan Asca. Back row (l-r) Sgt. Thomas Werner, 1st Sgt. Richard Pike (instructor), Spc. Zachary Koekenberg, and Spc. David Fletcher (Photo courtesy of Fort Benning Army Continuing Education Center)

Shown are students who completed the first Track II Paramedic course sponsored by Southern Union State Community College, Martin Army Community Hospital, and the Fort Benning Army Continuing Education Center. Front row (l-r) Sgt. Sabrina Hernandez, Sgt, Steve Miller, and Spc. Ryan Asca. Back row (l-r) Sgt. Thomas Werner, 1st Sgt. Richard Pike (instructor), Spc. Zachary Koekenberg, and Spc. David Fletcher (Photo courtesy of Fort Benning Army Continuing Education Center)

Submitted by Hillary Bailey, Fort Benning Education Services Office /

FORT BENNING, Ga. – In the late Summer 2015, Sgt. 1st Class Jachen Smith, Martin Army Community Hospital, contacted the Fort Benning Education Center about the need for a local Paramedic program.

Smith was passionate about having a program that would benefit the Army with highly-skilled Soldiers, and one that would also benefit Soldiers professionally and personally as they transitioned into their civilian careers.

With Smith leading the effort, the hospital, the Education Center and Southern Union State Community College joined forces to bring a paramedic program to Fort Benning.

Last fall, SUSCC Health Sciences Division partnered with the U.S. Army to teach a Track II Paramedic class to select active duty medical personnel on Fort Benning.

As a result, the first class of students to enter the new program successfully completed the coursework earlier this spring.

The course was designed to take licensed Emergency Medical Technicians and move them directly into the paramedic program, skipping the Advanced EMT course.

This class was the first to take the newly reformatted National Registry Psychomotor Exam which included an Integrated Out-of-Hospital Scenario.

All six students who completed the class successfully passed the exam on their first attempt.

“Richard Pike, along with all of our full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, and clinical preceptors, did a great job in putting together a program that gave these students the best opportunity to be successful,” said Steve Simpson, EMS Program Director.

The students already possessed National Registry certification for EMT, which is a requirement to be an Army medic, but the Army wanted to expand the scope of skills possessed by combat medics who will be assigned to Brigade Combat Teams.

The class was held at Martin Army Community Hospital and included experienced Non-commissioned Officers along with some junior enlisted personnel.

“The combat medic in today’s Army already has a vast set of skills that allows him or her to function in any environment with limited medical supervision,” said 1St Sgt. Richard Pike, the lead instructor for the class. “By adding to that skill set, the medics who have completed this class help to ensure that the best possible care will be rendered to our fighting forces around the world,” added Pike.

These medics will be expected to take the additional knowledge and skills they have gained through this program and share it throughout the Army medical community.

With campuses in Wadley, Opelika, and Valley, Southern Union State Community College is the second oldest two-year college in Alabama.

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