Faces From the Front for May 25, 2009 - Capt. Troy Bidez
Current Unit: 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy)
Current Position: Physician Assistant
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Camp Liberty, Iraq
Hometown: Eunice, La.
Years of Service: 17
Capt. Troy Bidez's current role as a physican assistant at Camp Liberty in Iraq is far different from his previous assignments attending to the traumas and combat injuries of Special Operations and Infantry units. The Eunice, La. native believes the work he and his team of Army medics are doing is vitally important to the readiness of the Army's Soldiers and its medical professionals.
During past deployments Bidez attended to a constant stream of life or death trauma situations. Now serving with a new team of young Army medics, Bidez says the focus is more on preventative medicine and readiness at the Battalion Aid Station (BAS) where Soldiers are more likely to enter for an immunization or wellness items.
A true testament to the safety training of the engineers that Bidez and his team care for, most medical situations are of an easily treatable nature. As a result, the medics working with Bidez put a priority on training and improvement in their field.
"There isn't only one way to learn," Bidez said. "Being exposed to trauma and combat wounds is one way for my medics to sharpen their skills, but that is only one aspect of being a medic."
Bidez emphasizes certifications such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) classes, retrains Soldiers during Combat Lifesaver (CLS) classes, and encourages those working with him to make use of the wealth of knowledge and experience of the senior medical staff.
Once the Army medics are ACLS certified, they are qualified to work in emergency rooms and intensive care units in the civilian world as well as in the Army. The emphasis on learning at Camp Liberty also translates into a mentoring atmosphere. Bidez credits his mentor, W. Donovan, for his decision to become a Physician Assistant in the Army.
"Donovan is well-respected, has been in the military since Vietnam, is a highly decorated Soldier, and was a great Physician Assistant in the 1st Ranger Battalion when I was just a young medic," Bidez said. "He's quite a legend."
And now Bidez is taking his turn as mentor teaching and guiding the young medics of the 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy).
"When we return from this deployment I want to be a Special Forces medic," said Sgt. Micheal L'Italien , a young medic who has sought advice from Bidez about his career path. "I've talked to Doc Bidez and other Special Forces medics, and from what I hear the training is very demanding, but it's what I really want to do. I really enjoy taking care of people."
Bidez will return to the states at the end of summer. His son is also a Soldier serving in the U.S. Army. Bidez credits his experiences both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an officer for providing him with a unique understanding of Soldiering and decision making, and how they affect the Soldiers he leads.