The Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command will take over the Medical Skills Training Center here beginning April 1, to provide combat medics with the required training for Emergency Medical Training certification.

"The MSTCs were created to provide combat medics the required 72 hours of training to be licensed through the National Registry EMT," said Sgt. 1st Class David Lovett, MSTC course coordinator, 99th Regional Support Command. "To hold the combat medic Military Occupational Specialty, you must have this certification and it expires every two years."

The training was previously managed by the 7230th Medical Support Unit, but the two Soldiers running the course were moving and the unit was unable to replace them. For the MSTC to continue operations, it must have a military course coordinator who is a combat medic and E-6 or above.

Understanding the importance of this facility and the training it provides to Army medics, the 99th RSC Surgeon's Office saw an opportunity to provide support and assigned Lovett to manage the training.

Currently there are 21 MSTC facilities around the country. Most are managed by active-duty Army with a few National Guard and two Army Reserve facilities.

"I am technically the Soldiers' first sergeant for the time they are here," said Lovett. "When the Soldiers arrive, we take care of everything, which includes training, meals, lodging, food and sometimes even transportation."

Becoming a combat medic begins with 16 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. When the Soldiers graduate, they are a licensed EMT through the national registry, which is a civilian organization.

Two years after graduation, that certification will expire and the Soldier will need to be re-certified. There is a core curriculum of classes that count toward the re-certification, and it must add up to 72 hours before it's complete.

Re-certification is a monumental task that takes a lot of coordination and a state-of-the-art facility. Unlike many other MSTCs, this facility does not charge the unit. The only thing a Soldier needs to bring are orders and transportation to the facility; everything else is covered.

The 72-hour, two-week course is a "get it all done" course. Attend this course and you complete your required training and certification for two years. While that is the most efficient, it's not always something units are able to do. If units need to break up the training, this MSTC offers a 48-hour, eight-day course and a 24-hour, three-day course.

In addition to the EMT certification course, they also offer units a four-day combat life-saver class that is open to all Soldiers and units. All courses are offered every month.

"We have $80,000 mannequins that bleed, breathe and moan," said Lovett. "The training rooms can have smoke, noise and special effects, and everything is video recorded for playback in the classroom." There is also an outside course in the back of the facility with vehicles, obstacles and a building to run battle scenarios.

The facility is supported by five civilian contractors-one takes care of all the administrative tasks, with the other four conducting the classes. While it may seem like a full-time job, the course coordinator position, which will be held by Lovett beginning April 1, is not his only job.

"I volunteered for this position; the 99th wasn't going to make anyone come over here," said Lovett. "I still do my other work as the Mass Medical NCOIC, profile coordinator and the 99th Surgeon's Office admin."

"I truly believe in this program because it gives units the ability to stay 'mobilization ready'," added Lovett. "If a medic cannot sustain, then he or she is no longer a medic, they have to change their MOS or be kicked out. This program gives the units a low-cost way to keep their medics trained and ready."

For units and medics interested in attending one of the courses offered, go to the JBMDL website at www.dix.army.mil/MSTC/ or (609)562-2444 or (609)562-2520.