CAMP ATTERBURY -- Sgt. Ean Blakley, Brazil, completed a week-long combat medic sustainment training course at the Indiana National Guard's regional training institute this week.
Despite technological advances, the Army's front line capability in keeping wounded soldiers alive is still the combat medic, according to Cpt. Richard Mcllrath, the program coordinator.
"This may be the only medical training they receive this year. It's a high priority for the state and an Army requirement," Mcllrath said. "If a unit only has five medics and doesn't have the capability, we can take the pressure off the unit by putting on this type of training."
Blakley, like any soldier, takes his mission seriously, but knowing the decisions he makes can mean the difference between coming home and not coming home for a fellow soldier keeps him focused.
"My dad's best friend was a combat medic in Vietnam. He was always around and talking about it. 'Stay calm, always stay calm,' that's what he taught me. 'It doesn't matter what you see, it's still a person,'" Blakley said.
Blakley, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is a member of the Indiana National Guard and has served for 14 years. He represents the Army's second largest military occupation specialty with nearly 38,000 active, reserve and National Guard combat medics serving today.
Col. Paul Grube, commandant of the institute, recognized Blakley's achievements, telling all the graduates the combat medic sustainment course is a particularly important program.
"We want to be what right looks like, and that (training) is what right looks like," Grube said. "I took a battalion to Afghanistan and it's a different smell, a different taste, a different feel.
"That's what our instructors did here: Smoke, sound effects. Hopefully, it's the extreme and then hopefully (the combat medics) can handle what normal looks like."