Our Best: Teen Medic Spc. Amanda Cleveland
Spc. Amanda Cleveland describes herself as “a simple girl who is not into drama.” As an Army medic, sometimes she can’t avoid being in dramatic situations, but it is the ability to consistently help and aid people, not the drama, that drives this native of Williamsport, Pa., to excel at her job.
Cleveland graduated from Williamsport High School in 2007 and, at age 17, immediately set off for basic combat training and Combat Medical School.
“I really wanted to go into the medical field and wasn’t sure how I was going to do it,” said Cleveland. “A recruiter was able to get me into the health care field and give me a $20,000 bonus on top of it.”
Cleveland was 18-years-old when her six months of rigorous medical training began and she became very nervous. “It was the longest time I had ever been away from my family,” she said. “I don’t know if I could have graduated if it had not been for a few older friends I had made who shared their previous experiences with me.”
While at training, Cleveland learned the ins-and-outs of emergency medicine and basic medical skills in general. She recalled one particular exercise, which she called “blood lanes.”
“We went through these blood lanes where we had to treat mock casualties in a stressful environment,” she said. “It was fast-paced training and we had to deal with them screaming, among other things.”
She went through similar training at the regional medical training site at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., in preparation for deployment.
Cleveland is currently serving with Task Force Keystone during her unit’s nine-month deployment to Iraq. Leading up to the three-month pre-deployment mobilization, Cleveland was one of several medics tasked with training the Soldiers of the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade in basic combat medical skills. This allows each Soldier to act as a bridge during the time between an emergency and the arrival of a medic. This time is often the most critical in ensuring a patient’s survival, according to Cleveland.
Her supervisor, Sgt. 1st Class Collin Bowser of Indiana, Pa., said Cleveland is extremely proficient at medical training. “She has done an excellent job teaching several hundred Soldiers the basics of first aid,” said Bowser. “And these are mostly Soldiers who are novices at this stuff and have minimal medical experience.”
Cleveland is humble about her teaching ability, but is quick to acknowledge the importance of the subject matter.”I really enjoy teaching, but it’s not always easy keeping a student’s attention, because I’m not a dominating person,” said Cleveland. “I just keep reminding myself that what I am teaching these Soldiers will not only affect them, but also the people they may have to save. I may be helping my students save a life!”
Cleveland is the primary instructor of the 28th CAB’s First Aid Refresher Course at Contingency Operating Base Adder which is taught monthly to a rotation of Soldiers. When she is not training, she is receiving clinical experience in her unit’s medical clinic. She takes vital signs, screens patients, performs asthma treatments and even stitches sutures.
During her 12-hour shifts, she uses downtime to write home. Many Soldiers here use e-mail, but Cleveland prefers to put pen to paper. “I like to physically write letters for two reasons. First, some of my family members are technologically impaired,” she joked. “But really it just feels more personal. It feels good to have that letter in your hand, knowing there was more time and energy put into it.”
This is certainly one Soldier who thrives on putting time and energy into aiding others.
Story by Sgt. James Waltz
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This entry was posted on Friday, July 24th, 2009 at 2:00 pm and is filed under Medicine, Military, Military, Our Best: Military Women. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.