Reserve medics place third in worldwide competition

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Nineteen U.S. Air Force medical teams were selected from around the world to compete in the 12th annual Medic Rodeo, September 17 to 20 at Cannon Air Force Base and Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico.

A team from the 944th Fighter Wing was chosen to represent the Air Force Reserve Command and took third place in the competition. The five-man team comprised of Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 944th Medical and Aeromedical Staging Squadrons were first-time participants and brought unique skill sets and experience to the competition.

“We are taking our [civilian] experience and bringing it to the front line,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Heng, 944th Medical Squadron deputy chief enlisted manager, City of Goodyear emergency medical technician firefighter, and coach for the team. “With the skills we’ve obtained outside the military we showed what we are capable of and what we bring to the fight.”

Judges graded the rodeo on multiple medical scenarios as the teams displayed their skills and knowledge in simulated tactical and home installation environments on trauma combat casualty care.

“A lot of it comes down to being thrown into a situation and you either sink or swim,” said Staff Sgt. Sergio Tosi, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician and firefighter paramedic with Arizona Fire Medical Authority.

Tosi was a last minute add-on to the 944th FW team and said he was confident with TCCC training, however he admits he was surprised at the intensity level and how things ran during the competition.

“Even if we hadn’t placed in the top three, this was probably one of the better experiences I’ve had in my military or medical careers,” said Tosi. “I received a lot of raw knowledge on how I need to run things and how we need to progress.”

Team Luke brought over 20 years of military and civilian medical experience to the competition. However, to enhance the deployed environment experience, the requirement to incorporate a non-4N0 [medic] Air Force Specialty Code, was added to the team composition this year to expose other medical career fields.

“I learned so much from this event that I truly feel ready to take on anything,” said Senior Airman Jovante White, 944th MDS diet technician and Allstate insurance agent. “Being a non-EMT, I learned a few things from the rodeo that can literally save a life.

According to White, the teams’ cohesion and willingness to accept constructive criticism could not have been better.

“We took the feedback from our cadre very well and put our emotions to the side,” said White. “Being open to feedback and using our weaknesses as our strengths is what contributed to our success.”

The EMT Rodeo began in 2007 as a competition among medical group teams, and over the past eleven years, it has grown from a regional competition to an Air Force recognized event.

Team particpants:
Senior Airman Christopher Straticoglu, 944th MDS medical technician
Senior Airman Jovante White, 944th MDS diet technician
Staff Sgt. William Gerrish, 944th MDS medical technician
Staff Sgt. Sergio Tosi, 944th ASTS medical technician
Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Heng, 944th MDS deputy chief enlisted manager (coach)