By Ms. Tish Williamson. HRCoE Director of CommunicationsApril 19, 2019
Maj. Gen. Patrick D. Sargent, Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence (AMEDDC&S HRCoE), hosted a welcome reception and meet and greet in support of a Los Angeles, California educator tour.
Over three dozen high school educators and key influencers from the Los Angeles area visited JBSA-Fort Sam Houston as part of the Army's new accession strategy that includes expanding recruitment efforts into 22 major metropolitan areas that include Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles, in order to reach a more diverse, and often overlooked, talent pool. The trip was hosted by the U.S. Army LA Recruiting Battalion led by Lt. Col. Patrick Flood and Command Sgt. Maj. Elvin Nuellis.
During the two-day visit, attendees received overview briefs and tours on key specialty areas that highlight the HRCoE as a premiere 21st Century Medical Education Institution to include: Critical Care Flight Paramedics, Dentists, Dental Laboratory Assistants, Radiography Technicians, Respiratory Laboratory Technicians, and the Army Nursing program.
Attendees also observed joint military training at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) and got a better idea of the size and scope of the Army Medicine mission, and the world class healthcare being provided to our Soldiers, retirees and veterans, through tours at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), the Burn Center and the Center for the Intrepid.
Tour attendees included Mr. Mario Guerra, an LA Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA), Mayor Sonny Santa Ines of Bellflower, Mayor Rick Rodriguez of Downey, and many High School principals, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (J.R.O.T.C.) cadre, teachers and counselors. The purpose of the visit was to ensure these community leaders learn about the countless opportunities available to high school students, college students and citizen providers and depart Fort Sam Houston with a shared purpose to inform Americans about the many benefits the Army and Army Medicine have to offer.
Sargent welcomed the guests, entertained questions on a wide variety of recruitment and accessions related issues and urged them to learn as much as possible about the HRCoE and the endless pathways their students have to join Army Medicine and the Army during the trip so that they don't depart with unanswered questions.
Sargent told the team of community partners, "We rely on key influencers like you to commit to these partnerships because informed citizens understand, and can attest to, the importance of voluntary national service." The Army's future readiness depends on the quality of the future Soldier; these education authorities can help by identifying and assessing the right talent, skills and credentials for achieving the Army's recruiting goals.
Sargent explained that today's Army is significantly different than when he was commissioned over 34 years ago. However, the Army's modernization strategy has one focus: make Soldiers and units more lethal to win our nation's wars, then come home safely as people are our most precious resource.
In order for America to be the best, its Army needs to attract the best. Sargent asked participants to help potential recruits assess their compatibility with the Army but to also let them know that anything is possible if they have the right mindset. He encouraged the educators to help students and recruits, with assistance from a recruiter when necessary, develop a viable plan for their future and to map out a general idea of what they want to achieve in the Army.
"The American Dream is alive, and I am living proof," Sargent explained as he detailed his humble beginnings that started in the housing projects of Florida and eventually led to three years in J.R.O.T.C and four years of R.O.T.C. at Florida State University.
He reflected on the fact that he was one of the lucky ones who found a path to a better future when that future was anything but certain. It is Sargent's belief that the Army doesn't just grow itself, it also grows people; it doesn't just take, it also gives back; it doesn't just want those who are already successful, it also wants those with the potential to be successful.
Sargent feels that there isn't a teen in America today who wouldn't benefit in some way from even a short tour in the Army; giving them the opportunity to find and tap into untapped potential.
Looking back, he said, "There are few paths that I had the opportunity to take that would have been more rewarding than becoming a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) pilot, serving my country and Soldiers around the world, and getting the financial, education and leadership advantages I have had the honor to have."
Ines, who has been the City of Bellflower Mayor since November 2018 said of the experience, "This was a real eye opener for me. The Army offers a lot of avenues for students to both further their education and acquire new skills."
Ines's sentiment echoes the true purpose for the visit; to not only leave Fort Sam Houston knowing what they may do for Army Medicine but also with a greater appreciation for what Army Medicine is able to do for them and their communities: help strengthen their people, their communities, and their nation.
"That's a win-win," said Sargent.
To learn more about pursuing a successful career in a variety of healthcare fields through Army Medicine, visit goarmy.com/amedd. To contact the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, visit recruiting.army.mil.