National Guard Combat Medic: 14 Things You Should Know

First and foremost, I have to say that all combat medics throughout the United State’s military have a difficult and dangerous job. They are targets because enemies do not want soldiers repaired and able to enter the fighting again. Here is a “shout-out” to combat medics! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the job you do.

In today’s post, we are going to look at 14 things you should know about the National Guard Combat Medic. If you have anything you want to add, please do so in the comments area at the end of this post.

1: MOS

All jobs in the Army and Army National Guard are called Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). Each of these have a number and a letter to show what that job is. The Army Combat Medic is 68W and is referred to as a Health Care Specialist.

2: MOS Changes

While the Army National Guard Combat Medic is now a 68W, it has not always been that way. Originally, the MOS numbers were 91B and 91C. In 1999, it was determined these all would become 91W after completing EMT-B. Effective in 2006, it was then changed to 68W.

3: The Primary Job

Put simply, the primary job of the National Guard Combat Medic is to provide emergency medical treatment and assist in the evacuation of anyone injured. The Combat Medic uses necessary methods to make sure the injured survives until he/she can be transported to a hospital.

4: Combat Medic’s Training

Before a soldier can become a National Guard Combat Medic they must complete 1o weeks of Basic Combat Training (BCT), and then 16 weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.


For those who desire to become National Guard Combat Medics, there are certain scores that must be attained in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. In the Skilled Technical (ST) portion, a score of 101 or higher, and in the General Technical (GT) portion, the soldier must have a score of 107 or higher.

6: The Combat Medic BadgeCombatMedBadge

I mentioned at the start of this post how Combat Medics can often be in perilous danger in the field. The Army does has a way to recognize these courageous soldiers. If a Combat Medic performs their job while under enemy fire, they are adorned with the coveted Combat Medic Badge. If you see a Medic with this badge, you know they were in great danger, but kept their cool to save lives.

7: Montgomery GI Bill

Combat Medics perform nearly all the same actions that a civilian paramedic does, but the civilian system states that they do not have the proper credentials to become paramedics in the civilian world. National Guard Combat Medics can utilize the Montgomery GI Bill to attain the needed funding to attend paramedic school so they have the proper education to become paramedics.

8: Other Possible Job Duties For National Guard Combat Medics

While I mentioned the primary job that combat medics perform in #3, there are some other duties that National Guard Combat Medics may be put in a position to do. These may include:

  • Serving as needed at mobile hospitals

  • Stocking medical supplies

  • Preparing samples for lab tests

  • Applying casts

  • Preparing operating rooms for surgery

  • Sterilizing instruments

  • And General patient care

9: Basic Requirements For Becoming A National Guard Combat Medic

There are a few basic requirements needed to become a National Guard Combat Medic. I mentioned in #5 what the ASVAB test scores need to be, but these are also required:

  • United States citizen or legal resident alien

  • High School diploma or GED

  • Between 17-35 years old. The maximum age may be higher for those who previously served in the United States military.

  • Pass a medical exam

  • Pass a background check

10: Pay

The National Guard pays quite well for part time service no matter what MOS a person takes. As a Combat Medic serving 1 weekend per month and 2 weeks per year, the 2013 averages were approximately:

  1. E1 – $2,972

  2. E2 – $3,335

  3. E3 – $3,760

  4. E4 – $4,950

These figures are just approximates, as it varies on time served and some other factors. But, as you can plainly see, this pay along with the many benefits makes the National Guard the best part time job in the nation.

11: Combat Lifesaver

Do you remember Basic Training. One of the items every soldier is taught in Basic is combat lifesaver. These are basic fundamentals of lifesaving procedures that can be administered by non-medical personnel while in battle. The National Guard Combat Medic 68W is who prepares, plans and teaches the Combat Lifesaver courses.

12: Responsibilities

The National Guard Combat Medic has a plethora of responsibilities. Just to reiterate some and show others, think of these:

  • Provide cover fire in circumstances of enemy aggression

  • Accompany combat patrols for medical service if needed

  • Initiate field treatments

  • Plan and execute evacuation of injured soldiers from the battlefield

  • Administer preventive medicines

  • Perform field sanitation

  • Supportive care

  • Plan and administer Combat Lifesaver courses

  • Etc…

13: EMT Certification

A part of a person’s Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston is earning Basic EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certification. When you pass the NREMT certification test, you will earn this certification.

14: Combat Medics You Need To Know About

These are all combat medics who I believe you should know about. They performed their duties up and above the call of duty, and should be recognized:

David Bleak 1932-2006

After Bleak finished all his training, he was assigned to the 223rd Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard. Deployed to Korea, Bleak was an excellent Combat Medic. His platoon came upon a Chinese ambush and Bleak was performing his medical duties, but when several Chinese started shooting from a nearby trench, the warrior side of Bleak came to light. He jumped in the trench and killed Chinese with his bare hands. He also was injured by a hand grenade while blocking the blast from a fellow soldier. He then went back into Medic mode and treated himself and his fellow comrades. For this action, Staff Sergeant Bleak was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Louis Rocco 1938-2002

Rocco was a Combat Medic for the United States Army in Vietnam. In 1970, Rocco agreed to go on a medical evacuation when the helicopter they were in came into intense enemy fire. Rocco carries unconscious soldiers to safety disregarding his own safety. In 1974, President Gerald Ford awarded Rocco the Medal of Honor.

Desmond Doss 1919-2006

Desmond Doss was a Combat Medic with the 77th Infantry Division in the Battle of Okinawa. He was also a conscientious objector because of his 7th Day Adventist beliefs. This didn’t stop him from performing life saving moves while being shot at. He ran through grenades and bullets to perform his Medic duties. For this, Doss was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman.

Monica Brown 1988-Date

This amazing woman and Combat Medic went up and above when the convoy she was riding in in Afghanistan was hit by a roadside bomb. She shielded the soldiers she was treating with her body. For this, Brown became the 2nd woman since World War II to receive a Silver Star. She was awarded it by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2008.

Final Thoughts

It is Combat Medics that help keep soldiers alive that may otherwise die. If you like the idea of saving lives while being in the midst of battle, maybe being a National Guard Combat Medic is your call.

We would love to hear from other Combat Medics. Please give any tips or advice for those who may want to join this position.

To all Combat Medics, thank you for your service.

Please post comments and questions below; thank you.

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