Operation Tribute to Freedom

OTF Soldier Story for May 10, 2010 - Spc. Jatina Scales

Specialist Jatina Scales

Current Unit: 194th Engineer Brigade
Current Position: Combat Medic
Component: Tennessee National Guard
Current Location: Jackson, Tenn.
Hometown: Jackson, Tenn.
Years of Service: 3

As a combat medic in Iraq, Spc. Jatina Scales was part of the first line of defense to treat Soldiers wounded in combat as well as experiencing other health-related issues while abroad. But for a young Soldier who is committed to helping others and bettering the global community, her deployment to Iraq was the perfect opportunity to put her medical training and passions to good use.

“What I do in the Army is provide assistance to Soldiers who are wounded during battle. It is important because as a combat medic, I have an important role in keeping Soldiers in the fight,” she said.

However, Scales says her job as a combat medic goes beyond just providing medical care.

“It is something I love to do. I am able to care for and help others. If I can treat just one person a day and know I did a wonderful job that makes my job that much more rewarding.”

Scales was deployed to Iraq from August 2009 to April 2010 and served with the 194th Engineer Brigade in Balad, a city in northern Iraq. On a daily basis, she worked in the brigade aid station and also served as the on-call medical care provider when Soldiers came in with urgent injuries.

Although most of her time overseas was spent at Joint Base Balad, she occasionally had opportunities to travel outside the wire on humanitarian missions, including distributing backpacks to local children and working in the intensive care unit at a local hospital for Iraqi nationals.

“It was clear to see that the parents really respected us for taking care of their kids, especially because they didn’t have access to good health care,” she said.

Helping other people was Scales’ goal when she joined the Army three years ago, after finishing her first year at Jackson State Community College, where she studied nursing.

“I like helping people and caring for them. I figured it was the best way to use my skills, more so than building things or going on patrols,” she said.

By deciding to join the Army, she also continued a family legacy of military service.

“When I put on my uniform, I feel like I’m not only doing it for me, but I’m doing something for my entire country and my family,” she said, noting that her father and two uncles have served in the military, as well as multiple cousins who have also recently completed tours of duty overseas.

The South Side High School graduate returned home last month, and she continues to live in the Jackson, Tenn. area. Scales is currently studying nursing at Tennessee Technology Center in Jackson and hopes to serve members of her hometown community the same way she has aided wounded Soldiers.

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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