DVIDS – News – Army NCO of the Year is proof that military medicine is strong

Falls Church, Va. – Sgt. Garrett Paulson, a combat medic at Bayne Jones Army Community Hospital in Fort Polk, La., is the first Army Medicine Soldier to be named NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) of the Year . He won the honor in October after competing in the Army’s inaugural Top Squad competition.

Paulson has only been in the military since 2017. He credits his family for the decision to join the military. Both of her parents are former enlisted soldiers and their support has been crucial to Paulson’s resilience and success. He joined the military at a time when he didn’t feel like he had a clear vision for the future.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to go than the army,” he said.

His sister and brother-in-law are also officers in the Air Force. “Their service, along with the service of my many extended relatives in the U.S. military played a large role in my decision to enlist. I never thought of it as a family tradition until I joined and realizes the service rendered to the country by my family. Now I have hope that one day my children will be able to serve in any capacity.

Prior to joining Army Medicine, Paulson was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division after deciding his next options for re-enlistment… “I had had no experience with Army Medicine and I served all my time with the 82nd Airborne Division when this window was open. I had a few friends who joined the Army Medical Units after AIT (advanced individual training), and after contacting them, I called my guidance counselor and told them that I would recommit to a medical assignment.

“If you’re considering joining military medicine for any reason, if you want a change of pace, if you want to expand your scope as a medic, go for it. Phone your guidance counselor and push it. I think my experience is a great example of what military medicine can do for your career,” Paulson said.

When Paulson is asked about his profession as a combat medic, the word reward comes up repeatedly. “I think being a combat medic is hugely rewarding, especially when embedded into operational units; you build an extremely close bond with the platoon or company you are tasked with keeping ready. You have the opportunity to learn as much as you have the opportunity to teach in this environment. One day you can be teaching Combat Life Saver, the next you’re learning how a weapons squad operates from a deliberate combat stance, or how to clear rooms with a team-sized item,” said Paulson said.

He added: “Combat medics are truly some of the most versatile and capable soldiers in the force. We can’t just be good at our jobs – we need to be incredibly competent and able to perform the tasks around us as well. »

Paulson’s strategy entering these competitions was to be physically in the best shape of his life. “I decided I had to change something about what I did every day,” he said. He decided to dedicate time every day to the gym. “It was something that I could control every aspect of: I decided how hard I wanted to push, how long I wanted to stay, and no one had dictation on that time apart from me.”

“There was no special training, I just got off the couch every day. I started going four times a week, for an hour at a time. By the time I was leaving Fort Polk to go at the Best Squad competition, I was in the gym six days a week, often for more than two hours, and I took on the mindset that no one was going to top me before the competition.

“My team knew I worked a lot too, so during competitions when it was time to lift heavy, they knew I would be up to it. I wanted them to know from the start that there was at least one thing they could count on to come, and that was physicality and motivation.

As for the future, “I don’t know what’s next for me after my stay at Bayne Jones Army Community Hospital in Fort Polk is over. There are so many opportunities out there that sometimes it’s quite overwhelming to think about. I can explore an expanded posting or position within military medicine that interests me. Possibly working for a Medical Readiness Command (CSM) Sergeant Major or command team at the region or division level.

The Army Medicine Pivot to Readiness has become the focus for ensuring a medically ready army and a medical force ready to support deployments. Paulson defines readiness as “our ability as soldiers, as providers, to fight and win our nation’s wars.”

“It’s the ability of soldiers to perform tasks within and sometimes beyond their designated skill level without being told to do so,” he said. “It is the ability of the unit to deploy on short notice and carry out the mission given to it by the higher echelons of command. Preparation is all soldiers should be doing, every day. Going to the gym in their free time to improve their physical condition, visiting army wellness centers to improve their understanding of how their body works.

Paulson credits his time with the 82nd Airborne and the support of his military medical first sergeant and the CSM for helping him prepare for the competition.

“I was only supposed to be in the military for four years to ‘rebuild my confidence,'” he said. -officer of the year would mean to me, to military medicine, to my family or whoever else,” Paulson said.

“Once it was announced I was able to pull myself together and it just took off like a bullet – interviews, engagement planning, congratulatory handshakes and photos. It was amazing. The first thing that hit me , was when the very first noncommissioned officer of the year approached me after the ceremony. I didn’t know it was him at the time. He shook my hand and said: “It’s the award of all Army awards. It will be with you forever, and it will mean just as much in twenty years as it does today. He had won the title 20 years before, so he has to go there. have some truth in that.







Date taken: 12.13.2022
Date posted: 12.13.2022 17:11
Story ID: 435115
Location: WE






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