Military PAs - page 2

I know this is a nurse site, but I have a question about what military PAs do and where they work when deployed. I've heard that they work very close to the front, is that true? And is it possible to join the military as a PA,... Read More

  1. 0
    Quote from Weebils-Wobble
    With all due respect; so do the insurgents. They want the most valued targets. An officer is certainly on that list.

    You've overinterpreted the question. The OP was looking for TYPES OF FACILITIES PAs practice in in the military - as I said, not grid coordinates. Saying a PA works in a tent hospital is not a matter of operational security. (As a sideline, with the huge Red Cross on the tent, I'd say it's fairly obvious. The tents are marked that way, as you know, to signify them as noncombatant units - not that that may help much.)

    You might also allow that PAs are medical personnel and are therefore considered to be noncombatants under the Geneva Convention (which we follow even if they don't). So they don't fight on front lines anyway - not like infantrymen. In Vietnam and Korea, my father, a Navy corpsman (who did everything PAs can do except write scripts - in fact, the first PA program was created especially for returning corpsmen from Vietnam whose rate had no civilian counterpart and the whole thing was born right down the road at Duke University) carried a sidearm for personal security - not as a combatant. And it's my understanding that that has not changed.

    (In the Navy, "rate" is analogous to "MOS".)
    Last edit by carolinapooh on Jun 30, '05

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  2. 0
    Quote from Weebils-Wobble
    There is nowhere "safe" for a uniformed member of the military.

    With equal respect, do you low-crawl to the BX to get your toothpaste, dodging insurgents in the wire at Fort Sill? No, you don't - because the base is safe. Walking around Ramstein is safe. (Walking around downtown Ramstein in uniform - probably not a good idea. Dressed in appropriate civilian gear - you're OK.) I don't think such drama (or seemingly being so ate up) is necessary here. After having two sets of orders to Desert Storm, living in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh (NOT on an Aramco or Eskan/Diplomatic Quarter compound, but out on the economy) as a civilian for three years (including all of 2001), and now dealing with e-mails involving flights in and out of the IZ and the hot zones in Iraq, I think I knew what the OP meant by hazardous. (For example: PSAB was safe. OUTSIDE PSAB was not. The IZ is safe. Downtown Baghdad is not. It's all relative and I think they get the idea.)

    And given the world we live in today, post 9/11, I'd say ANY American tooling around in any corner of the world is a massive target. You don't need a uniform for that anymore.

    While we're on this subject, I think we'll agree on this - whose bright idea was it to allow folks to FLY on civilian aircraft in uniform? These people were not attaches or anything - they were returning from basic (you know how they stand out!). You couldn't do that when I was in. Now THAT is definitely UNSAFE!

    Edited to add: I DO know what you mean. But I don't think that drastic of an interpretation of the question is needed. BTW, if you are indeed active duty, YOU stay safe - and thanks for your service.
    Last edit by carolinapooh on Jun 30, '05
  3. 0
    Carolina,

    Yes, I agree, I am overstating. I was trying to set a tone. Certainly saying that Army PAs work in tents is not going to give any useful information to an Ear. Certainly if they ever get half a clue and learn that mortars can be aimed and the margin of error for a missle is not usually 1 mile, then they will target all tents anyway;especialy the ones with big red crosses.

    Off the top of my head I can remember more than a few terrorists that were american citizens. The only reason we know about them is that they were caught. A military base is not what one would call a soft target but they would if they could.

    In Ghan an Airborne guy whacked two officers in thier tents. Soldiers die just training even. They must shoot live ammo to train for it. When a 1000 soldiers are blowing stuff up,shooting all kinds of weapons and riding tons of machinery, something is bound to happen.

    What I'm saying is that IEDs, mortars,missles, a kid tossing a grenade and the soldier next to you on the firing line forgetting to clear his weapon have no "front" from which to keep a safe distance from. Military duty is hazardous, no matter were one serves.

    BTW
    USS Truett FF1095 out of Norfolk 79-81
  4. 0
    [PHP]While we're on this subject, I think we'll agree on this - whose bright idea was it to allow folks to FLY on civilian aircraft in uniform? These people were not attaches or anything - they were returning from basic (you know how they stand out!). You couldn't do that when I was in. Now THAT is definitely UNSAFE![/PHP]

    I was a 17y/o recruit once. I think I slept in my crakerjacks for a month once I earned them. Some of that could be attributed to ETOH abuse and not pride mind you but you could not have convinced me it was irrational.

    The counterterrorism briefings have come a long way. I'm certain that those recruits were going against SOP. I saw what looked like an entire company worth of soldiers in DBDUs in a civillian airport terminal. I couldn't believe they weren't out on the tarmack.
  5. 0
    Quote from carolinapooh
    Speaking as prior military - you have to remember these folks are speaking civilianese, so I'd give them a bit more credit.

    There IS a front line in Iraq. Trust me - I get reports from over there all the time. My husband will be more than happy to tell you there IS indeed a front.

    Where PAs practice is NOT a matter of operational security. They don't want grid coordinates; the OP just wants to know what type of facilities they'd be in.

    So I'll make the attempt to answer.

    Tents in Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly. My father flew Medevac in Vietnam and Korea as a Navy corpsman so I would suppose that's a good possibility in Iraq and Afghanistan today. There are still several large military medical facilities - including hospitals (Wilford Hall in San Antonio at Lackland and the hospital at Ramstein Air Base come to mind) - where PAs are used. The guy I had as my PCP in OK was a PA. Many bases also still have base clinics (these ARE falling victim to BRAC closure, though, like the one at Altus did while I was there). You could be onboard ship if in the Navy or Marines.

    And there aren't just PAs in the Army. They're in all the branches - AF, Navy/Marines, Army, and Coast Guard.

    And I've been plenty of places in the military that weren't hazardous. (I say that because I feel as though the responding poster above made it sound as though you have to be in full Kevlar and low-crawling while you're moseying on over to the base exchange at your base in, say, California.) Being in the military gives you the POTENTIAL for being deployed to somewhere dangerous in a war zone - at any given time. Especially now. You HAVE to keep that in mind before you sign on the dotted line.

    When I was in, entrance into these programs - both ROTC and the service-run school (yes, there's a military PA program; trust me - I looked into it when I was in) - was VERY competitive. But by all means, don't let that stop you. PAs are generally officers, so I would call up a ROTC detachment in your area or at a university with a PA program you're interested in and ask them about health professions scholarships. Local recruiters are generally looking for enlisted bodies and may or may not know a lot about commissioning opportunities.

    Anyway, maybe that will help. Good luck!
    As an active duty veteran of OIF, I can tell you that the lines ARE NOT linear. The is no clear delineation of what is the "front" and what is not. It is called "4th Generation Warfare". If you want an explanation of that it is very easily googled. For example, the workers in the camps could be the same people who are performing terrorist operations against you. The bottom line is that it is tough to fight an enemy that could be ANYWHERE at anytime.

    Mike
  6. 0
    Quote from Weebils-Wobble
    There is nowhere "safe" for a uniformed member of the military.
    I will add one caveat, the insurgency looks for targets of opportunity to make a statement. The high value targets are ANY American (how soon we forget 9/11).

    Mike


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