Michigan National Guard
Story by Master Sgt. David Eichaker
AUGUSTA, Mich.— The Michigan Army National Guard’s (MIARNG) sole medical detachment based in Detroit’s Light Guard Armory has a huge undertaking and oversees medical preparedness for Michigan Soldiers.
“The role of the Medical Detachment is medical readiness for the Michigan Army National Guard,” said U.S. Army Capt. Rebecca Ladermann, nurse case manager, medical detachment (MEDDET), Michigan Army National Guard. “We make sure all the units throughout Michigan are medically ready and we facilitate that with events that takes soldiers through their annual physical including immunizations, hearing, dental, and vision.”
The MEDDET plays a pivotal role in maintaining the warfighter and is vital to national interest that ensures the readiness of Soldiers. MEDDET’s role is central to sustaining a medically ready force.
“When Soldiers get ready to deploy, we have to do their pre-deployment health assessment to ensure they are healthy and ready for their missions,” said Ladermann. “Taking care of our Soldiers also includes when they return from a deployment as we help facilitate the post-deployment health physicals.”
Ladermann served four years in the Army’s active component before joining the MIARNG’s MEDDET more than a year ago. As an Army medic and as a registered nurse in the civilian workforce, she focuses on her passion of taking care of people.
“At the end of the day, it is important to touch base with those Soldiers and make sure they are healthy and ready to go and when they return, they are still healthy,” she said.
The MEDDET serves the Soldier in different aspects of overall health which includes the Director of Psychological Health.
“We have behavioral health officers available and Soldiers have opportunities to speak with them if they need to,” said Ladermann.
The medical detachment is comprised of several jobs such as registered nurses, medical doctors, dentists, physician assistants, medics, and phlebotomists. These medical professionals are required to complete sustainment training every 24 months. The MIARNG Office of the State Surgeon General, in coordination with MEDDET, recently offered training based on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) criteria. This course addresses the precise administration of mission oriented tasks to treat injured service members.
“MEDDET training is very important,” said U.S. Army Sgt. First Kyle Herring, medical readiness noncommissioned officer, 63rd Troop Command, Michigan Army National Guard. “As medics, we have to maintain our continuing education (CE) credits of 72 hours every 2 years.”
“There is a certain percentage of CEs that have to be hands-on and this particular course provides 48 hours of those CEs while 24 of the CEs will be online,” said Herring.
The 6-day training course allows for the Michigan Soldiers to network with one-another as the students gather from all corners of the state.
“We bring in medics from across the state to assist with this training,” said Herring. “We have Soldiers from MEDDET, 63rd Troop Command, Military Police, Infantry, and Artillery—as students and instructors.”
“This is one of the few times as Army medics where we get to work together and grow as a community because all too often, Army medics are on a range supporting the main mission," he said.
The course also has the goal of finding future instructors for the curriculum.
“This is where we find instructors,” said Herring. “I was a student 5-10 years ago and now I am an instructor.”
“This is where we find our next level of instructors as we identify medics to be medic instructors,” he said.
Each medic in the Guard is required a civilian certification to maintain their military occupational skill, which comes from NREMT.
“Army medics are classified as an emergency medical technician-basic under NREMT,” said Herring. “As medics, we are trained in administering sutures, chest tubes, and medications and fill the role resembling a paramedic.”
This certification is a bonus for service members wanting to be a licensed medic in their state.
“Years ago, we didn’t have the NREMT civilian certification and now we do,” said Herring. “Now we can go to the recruiting force and let them know about this national certification for individuals who want to be medics and give future Soldiers something that will allow them to go further into the medical field.”
“Most states will accept the national certification and give you a state license to practice,” he said.