VILSECK, Germany – "I just didn't want a boring life," said Maj. Brian Mims prior to joining the U.S. Army in 2002. Today, Mims serves as the regimental senior physician's assistant with the 2d Cavalry Regiment in a career that has been far from boring.
Mims did not start his journey as a medical professional; his first calling was as an armor officer. He served as a M1 Abrams, an American battle tank, and M2 Bradley, an infantry fighting vehicle, platoon leader with the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, in Camp Casey, Korea, his first overseas assignment.
After his tour in Korea, Mims went through the Special Forces selection to become a psychological operations officer. He supported the Navy SEALs Teams 5 and 7 as part of the Special Operations Forces Task Force in Iraq.
"After the deployment, I took command of a headquarters and headquarters company,” said Mims. “It was interesting working for one of the battalions [and] sending engagement teams all of the world to support the department of state."
Looking for something new, Mims entered the Interservice Physician Assistant Training Program to join the medical profession. He refined and mastered his medical expertise in Hawaii as a physician's assistant with the 45th Sustainment Brigade in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and with the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, in Ft. Stewart, Georgia.
During this time, he started a hobby which brought further excitement into his life, 3D printing. "I can basically make anything I want," said Mims.
Although he has made various models and toys, his calling to serve and help others guides his unique hobby. According to Mims, a medical prosthetic can cost $5,000 to $10,000, so he makes prosthetics for children with hand and wrist deformities. These simple, mechanically activated hands cost $30 for materials and are easily replaceable when children outgrow or damage them.
This past year, Mims used his hobby to bring an exciting challenge to the medics he trains in 2CR. He collaborated to create a 3D model for a cricothyrotomy, a procedure that requires to cut open the neck and insert a breathing tube in the patient.
"Medics can train on this device to more accurately replicate what a human throat feels like when they do this live saving procedure," said Mims.
Today, Mims is challenged by the corona virus in Bavaria, the most infected state in Germany. He is responsible for scheduling providers screening facilities, maintaining the medical readiness of the regiment at the Vilseck Army Clinic, while still seeing patients.
Additionally, he assists the regimental surgeon in planning and operations. During his free time, Mims explores 3D printing masks for people on U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria. Every day presents him with a variety of challenging obstacles to overcome.
"I see civilians and military personnel who’ve worked the same job, in the same office for 20 years,” said Mims reflecting on his 20 years in the military. “I didn't want that."
His career has been a wild ride, but when asked what he is most proud of in his exciting career, the time in special operations or complex medical problems did not come to mind. Instead, he thinks of family first, his son and wife.
"I have a good family that loves me,” said Mims. “It's a happy family life."