Operation Tribute to Freedom

OTF Soldier Story for April 11, 2011 - Spc. Levi Meyer

Specialist Levi Meyer

Current Unit: 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Current Position: Combat Medic
Component: Active Duty
Current Location: Fort Bragg, N.C.
Hometown: Billings, Mont.
Years of Service: 2

While still in high school, Spc. Levi Meyer worked part-time as a ski patroller at a nearby mountain resort in his home state of Montana. Often the first responder to accidents, he learned how to provide emergency medical care to injured skiers.

What started as a weekend job soon became a passion for Meyer. After graduating from high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a medical career, but was unsure about committing to college and medical school right away. He eventually chose an alternate route and enlisted in the Army as a medic.

“Back in high school, I really liked to ski, and I saw the ski patrollers and how they take care of people who got hurt,” he said. “I admired how the patrollers were able to rely on their wits and what they had with them to take care of people. I have a lot of respect for that.”

Transitioning from the slopes to the frontlines, Meyer deployed to Iraq last year with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. As a combat medic, he provided first aid and trauma care to his fellow Soldiers, often relying solely on the supplies that he was able to carry with him on mission.

While deployed, Meyer’s time was divided between attending to patients in the aid station on base and accompanying his unit on missions. Traveling with his unit through dangerous territory in search of roadside bombs, risks ran high. In the event of an attack, it was Meyer’s responsibility to stabilize his comrade and arrange for the Soldier to be evacuated to a medical facility as quickly as possible. Despite the enormous pressure that his role demanded, Meyer found his job to be extremely rewarding.

“I like helping Soldiers,” he said. “You get lots of hands-on experience. I enjoy knowing that occasionally I get to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Aspiring to advance in the military medical field, Meyer is in the process of applying for the Army’s Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP). Overseas, physician assistants take on many of the same duties as regular physicians; beyond everyday first-aid, they are responsible for performing advanced procedures on their wounded comrades.

“Enrolling in the IPAP could help me get all the prerequisites I need for medical school down the road,” he said. “I have the opportunity to work with Soldiers and at the same time get an education that will benefit my future.”

Meyer is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. with the 82nd Airborne Division. In the future, he hopes to enroll in medical school and eventually become a neurologist.

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