FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- "Since I was a child, I've wanted to be a medic," said Spc. Jody R. Rairigh. "How often do you get to meet someone who gets to realize their childhood dream'"

Rairigh is a health care specialist with the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, aid station, Fort Hood, Texas, also known as the Tiger Aid Station.

She realized part of her dream of becoming a medic when she graduated from the basic health care specialist course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, three years ago, but Rairigh knew that her ultimate goal was to be part of a combat unit.

The Mariposa, Calif., native began her Army career at the 3rd ACR Regimental Aid Station, away from the combat squadrons. She completed a yearlong deployment to Iraq working in the regimental aid station.

Female medics are usually stationed with the rear sustainment support elements, according to Rairigh, who made it known to leadership in the RAS that she wanted to move down to an aid station in a combat squadron.

The process to get a female medic permanently assigned to the Tiger aid station started when Staff Sgt. Daniel R. Wyatt, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 1st Squadron Aid Station, noticed a growing need for female medical personnel due the increased number females in the squadron.

"We got female Soldiers, and they need a female medic," said Wyatt, a Salem, Ore., native.

Wyatt said that sometimes females might not seek the aid they need if there is not a female to speak with during examinations.

After Wyatt identified the need for a female medic, the Tiger Aid Station leadership worked their way through the chain of command until Rairigh was selected as a possible candidate to be assigned to them. Before she could come to 1st Squadron, the leadership wanted her to be interviewed by Wyatt.

Wyatt said choosing her was easy due to the positive attitude she showed.

"She said it was her dream," said Wyatt. "She said she always wanted to do this."

In April, Rairigh joined the Tiger Aid Station and in May moved out to the U.S. National Training Center at Fort Irwin Calif., to begin integrating with her new co-workers.

Wyatt said that it was important for a medic to join the squadron as soon as possible so the new medic can better integrate with the aid station prior to a deployment.

"There is nothing different about having a female Soldier," said Wyatt.

So far Rairigh said she is just enjoying her time in the field and strengthening the bond she has with her fellow Soldiers. And because she is a little bit older than most of the medics in her aid station, she said she is starting to feel like a big sister to them.

Now, despite the fact that there are no female medic positions in the Tiger Aid Station, Rairigh has fully realized her dream by being officially assigned to 1st Squadron and is a full-fledged Tiger medic.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16