By Spc. Tyler OConnellFebruary 4, 2020
GRAFENWOHR, Germany -- A female combat medic specialist from the small town of Estelline, South Dakota, is attached to the 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion during Operation Atlantic Resolve in Grafenwohr.
Spc. Leannah TeKrony has been drawn to the medical field and the military ever since she was a child.
"It started when I was about 8 years old," said TeKrony. I had a huge respect for military personnel and I had a doctor's outfit with a stethoscope, so I would pretend to be a military medical person."
TeKrony had her doubts about being able to join the military.
"I didn't understand when I was younger that women could be in the military at the time," said TeKrony. "As I got older, I realized there are things like the National Guard and how more military occupational specialties have opened up to women. There came a point when I realized, I can do that."
After the doubt passed, fear of talking to a recruiter started to settle in.
"It was kind of scary to me because I knew if I went to a recruiting office that I was going to join," said TeKrony. "After talking to a recruiter a few times, I felt a deep calling and I knew it was what I wanted to do, especially if I could get into the medical field."
During initial training, TeKrony received three top awards: Iron Medic, Leadership Award and Distinguished Honor Grad, and was selected for a significant leadership role in training.
"It's a pretty difficult course," said TeKrony. "It was the first time in my life where I was really recognized for doing what I felt was right. I was crazy humbled and honored."
TeKrony then found herself attached to the 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion, where she went on back-to-back deployments, one with each battery.
"I never wanted to just sit in South Dakota," said TeKrony. "I never want to sit in just one place, that's why these deployments have been great. I like to go places and do and see different things."
Hard times and times of learning come with deployments.
"A few things that I learned on the first rotation is that you need to use that feeling you feel when you don't know and it makes you uncomfortable," said TeKrony. "I use that to motivate myself to search for answers and to go ask people for help."
Throughout all that time as a combat medic, a Soldier gets to learn a lot of medical procedures that most civilian nurses are not allowed to do.
"I've gotten to do sutures, cyst removal, toenail removal, wart excisions on feet and fingers," said TeKrony. "It's pretty amazing because a lot of the time on the civilian side, it is only the providers that are allowed to do such things."
TeKrony has been taking college classes while deployed to further her medical career.
"I've definitely been drawn to a lot of specialties in my life," said TeKrony. "After being here, I would definitely like to work in an ER; however there is a part of me that would like to go to a more dangerous place to be able to take care of these things that happen daily, whether that be in the Army or civilian side."
TeKrony highly recommends anybody interested in entering the medical field join the National Guard as a combat medic specialist.
"It would be a great steppingstone into the medical career," said TeKrony. "Not only are you more exposed on the military side, but you also get the experience to carry into the civilian side."