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    National Guard Soldiers deployed to Kosovo earn EMT

    National Guard Soldiers deployed to Kosovo earn EMT certifications

    Photo By Sgt. Erick Yates | U.S. Army Capt. James Watters, the chaplain for the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 252nd...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Erick Yates 

    Multinational Battle Group - East (KFOR)

    CAMP MARÉCHAL DE LATTRE DE TASSIGNY, Kosovo - A graduation ceremony was held Feb. 6 for 13 U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the Multinational Battle Group-East Forward Command Post, who made the most of their deployment time by completing an emergency medical technician course at Camp Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, Kosovo.

    The course, which was held during Soldiers’ downtime over four months, will help the group of North Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers return to their post-deployment civilian careers with additional skills and qualifications.

    Sgt. Benjamin Smith, one of the lead combat medics for the NCNG’s 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment, and an instructor for the EMT training, coordinated the course in order to give his fellow citizen-Soldiers the additional training and employment skills. The Soldiers are deployed as part of NATO’s peace support mission in the region. Known as Kosovo Force, the Soldiers work along multinational partners in order to ensure safety, security and freedom of movement in Kosovo.

    “The idea to conduct the course started when our unit was at Fort Pickett, Virginia, doing pre-mobilization training,” Smith said. “After doing much research, I was able to get in contact with someone who would help me coordinate the course once we had arrived in Germany.”

    The unit’s pre-mobilization training brought them through Virginia, Texas and Germany before finally reporting to Kosovo in June 2015.

    Dr. Felipe Gonzalez, the medical director for the Central Texas College-Europe emergency medical technology program, was the special connection Smith needed to begin successfully planning and preparing an EMT course.

    “It’s a rewarding process to see those who participated learn all the material and complete the course,” Gonzalez said.

    One of Sgt. Smith’s main reasons for doing the course, aside from additional deployment training, was to provide the Soldiers assigned to the FCP a chance to develop more career oriented job skills for returning home after the deployment.

    First Lt. Ian Smith, a physician’s assistant assigned to the 1-252nd, said it was a pleasure to work with Gonzalez and Sgt. Smith and see their efforts come together successfully.

    Spc. Steven Webb, from the 1-252nd’s Alpha Company, said that he participated in the course so he could use the time to learn more medical skills and have more options when he returns home.

    “I’m currently majoring in criminal justice, but taking the EMT course has made me consider looking into this career field as well,” Webb said.

    Lt. Col. William Gray, the 1-252nd commander, said it was a good team effort that came together in order to make the course possible.

    “Having this EMT course provided an opportunity for our Soldiers to gain a skill set that will relate directly into the civilian workforce, giving these Soldiers another career choice when they get home,” Gray said.



    Date Taken: 02.06.2016
    Date Posted: 02.17.2016 05:52
    Story ID: 189014

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