Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Female Combat Medics: Fight Every Day & Earn Respect

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Female Combat Medics: Fight Every Day & Earn Respect

Article excerpt

Temperatures exceeded 115 degrees on July 11 during the five-hour mission in the city of Amerli. More than 50 Soldiers were on site and tensions were high; Amerli was the scene of a massive suicide truck bombing just four days earlier.

Soldiers kept alert but visibly struggled under the weight of dozens of pounds of battle gear. Throughout the sun-scorched day, all but two Soldiers limited their movement as much as possible. All but two could afford that luxury.

Spcs. Vanessa Bolognese and Aimee Collver, combat medics, Personal Security Detachment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, continuously walked up and down the lines of men. "Drink water," they repeated. "Are you feeling OK?" they asked. They were the two Soldiers charged with ensuring that each man stayed hydrated and returned safely to base. As usual, they were the mission's only dedicated medical personnel.

Bolognese and Collver kept all their male counterparts healthy "outside the wire" that day in Amerli just as they do every day in the Kirkuk Province, Iraq. Neither is doing exactly what she thought she'd be doing in the Army, but neither would trade her job for another.

"Before I enlisted, I was going to school to become a registered nurse," said Bolognese. "I wanted a medical job, and my military occupational specialty is called Health Care Specialist," said the 21-year-old from Chino Hills, Calif. "In fact, the first time I heard the term 'Combat Medic' was during advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston. They pretty much told us there, 'You will be deploying. You will be working in Iraq.'"


Bolognese's colleague and roommate had similar motivations. "I'd been working in a nursing home after high school," said Collver. "When I walked into the recruiter's office, I knew that I wanted a medical job," explained the 23-year-old from Puyallup, Wash. "The healthcare specialist job was available, and I was told that I would be working in a hospital setting," she said. "Of course, I don't work in a hospital, and nothing out here in Iraq is anything like what I thought."

What each combat medic is doing in Iraq is working as the designated medical asset to the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team's, Personal Security Detachment. The PSD's primary mission is to transport certain members of the brigade's command group around 3IBCT's area of operation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.