Chicago educators explore opportunities for students at MEDCoE | Article
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -Chicago, Illinois-area educators toured the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) during a larger JBSA tour hosted by the Chicago Army Recruiting Battalion, the March 30, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
During two half-day sessions at MEDCoE, the 35 educators and six recruiters visited the veterinary laboratory of the Department of Veterinary Science and received an overview of animal care technicians and food inspection. They also toured the Departments of Dental Sciences and Preventive Health Services, received a command brief, and participated in a question-and-answer session with MEDCoE Commanding General Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster.
“We are strategic partners,” LeMaster told the attentive group of high school and college counselors, teachers, professors, principals and other administrators.
LeMaster told a story about his time as a “mediocre student” growing up in Washington State. His guidance counselor encouraged him to become a garbage collector rather than go to university. Despite this advice, he decided to look into college scholarship options through the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) because his father felt the structure would be good for him.
35 years after being commissioned by ROTC as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps, LeMaster is now a major general in the Army and serves as the 19th chief of the U.S. Army Medical Services Corps. army in addition to commanding the MEDCoE.
“We all have a responsibility to help young people discover all the opportunities available to them and realize their full potential,” explained LeMaster.
The Army has made it a priority to recruit quality officers and enlisted soldiers by identifying and assessing the talents, skills and credentials needed to help win our country’s wars, then return home safely. security. MEDCoE usually invites educators and students to tour the facilities so they can learn about the myriad opportunities available to high school students, college students, and civilian providers. Educator visits were converted to virtual events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MEDCoE resumed in-person educator visits in June 2021 and in-person student visits in February of this year.
The general, who has been in command since January 2020, described the many paths to service in Army medicine, including enlistment, ROTC, West Point, the long-term health education and training program ( LTHET), Green to Gold Scholarships and Health Professions. Scholarship Program (HPSP). Regardless of source, the military offers more than 60 science and medical career options: everything from optometrists, physician assistants, and surgeons to medical, dental, medical laboratory, and combat medics.
“The military is a path, a series of known and unknown opportunities and adventures,” LeMaster said. Soldiers learn discipline, leadership skills, and important values that will make them more productive members of society in the future. “We are looking for a good character. We have a limited population of young adults who can serve due to factors such as obesity, drugs, mental health issues or legal issues.
According to the US Army Recruiting Command, less than a quarter of the eligible US population qualifies to serve in the military. At the same time, about 75% of young adults today admit they know little or nothing about active military service or part-time opportunities in the Army Reserves or National Guard. of the Army. As a result, the propensity to choose military service has declined in recent years and currently stands at 10%, the lowest since 2007. The military, with more than 485,000 active duty soldiers, remains the largest American fighting force.
MEDCoE, the Army’s largest civilian-accredited service school, trains and educates 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers each year through 192 health-related instruction programs. They offer 18 degree programs to include three enlisted degree programs, six master’s programs, and nine doctoral programs. Several programs are consistently ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report, including health administration, physician assistants, and anesthesia nursing.
“The service isn’t for everyone,” LeMaster said. “But if your students thrive in a structured and disciplined environment like me, they can seize the opportunity and really enjoy it.”
LeMaster described how the military enables success, provides stability and security and lifelong learning, and provides a safe and healthy workplace. In addition to a base salary, soldiers can receive up to $50,000 in enlistment incentives. Soldiers also receive financial stipends to offset the cost of housing and meals, 30 days of vacation per year, comprehensive health care, money for education, family services, and even professional support after service. honorable.
He hopes visitors will leave Fort Sam Houston with the common goal of educating their students about the many benefits the Army and Army Medicine have to offer and to help overcome the disconnect between the Army and recruits. potential.
“The Armed Forces should be seen as a first choice that leads to great opportunities,” LeMaster concluded.
To learn more about careers available in military medicine, visit www.goarmy.com/amedd.