Preventative medicine Soldier thrives through teamwork

By Michelle ThumAugust 23, 2022

Sgt. Trent Tardy, a health physics specialist with Public Health Command Europe
Sgt. Trent Tardy, health physics specialist with Public Health Command Europe in Landstuhl, Germany. (Photo Credit: Michelle Thum) VIEW ORIGINAL

LANDSTUHL, Germany — When life took a turn, Sgt. Trent Tardy, a health physics specialist with Public Health Command Europe, realized teamwork can be found everywhere.

A native of Copperas Cove, Texas, Tardy enlisted in the U.S. Army after his first year of college in 2017.

“I played basketball in college and studied business,” Tardy said. “But then my wife and I were expecting our first child and I needed to provide for my family.”

His family did not push him to join the Army, but for him it was an easy decision.

According to Tardy, he knew what to expect coming from a family with a storied history of service. “My dad served for 20 years in the Army, both of my grandfathers served and my aunt was in the U.S. Air Force. For me, it was great knowing that they had my back and would help me get through it,” he recounted. “Since they had been through it, I knew I could do it too.”

Tardy knew he wanted to work in the medical field, but he was not set on a specific job.

“I did some looking around and chose to become a preventive medicine specialist,” he explained. “A lot of the stuff we do is behind the scenes. We’re not out and about in front of everybody. Everything we do is to help the overall health of the community.”

As a preventive medicine specialist, Tardy conducts environmental surveys, food safety inspections and sanitation. His work contributes to soldier health and readiness by preventing the spread of infection and bacteria.

“I was given the opportunity to gain a wide variety of experience and even train others on my skillset,” Tardy said.

In 2020, he deployed to Kosovo as the field sanitation instructor and section noncommissioned officer-in-charge assigned to the 566th Medical Company (Area Support) for nine months.

“We conducted surveys and inspections, but I was also able to train and certify more than 300 soldiers from the U.S. and Kosovo in field sanitation,” he said.

The deployment was a unique and challenging situation due to the language barrier. But by working closely with a translator, Tardy was able to accomplish his mission.

“You have Soldiers going out into the field not understanding that water might not be safe to drink,” said Tardy. “If you have more people qualified and trained, you have more people who understand the importance of field sanitation.”

Public Health Command Europe soldier Sgt. Trent Tardy
Sgt. Trent Tardy, a health physics specialist with Public Health Command Europe, processing water samples. (Photo Credit: Michelle Thum) VIEW ORIGINAL

After returning from Kosovo, he attained an additional skill identifier and became a health physics technician.

At Public Health Command Europe, Tardy is currently part of the radiological advisory medical team, a small group of subject matter experts who get activated in case of a nuclear or radiological emergency.

“We conduct monthly surveys at healthcare facilities and veterinary treatment facilities to ensure there is no radiation contamination,” he said. “The dosimetry program is one of our responsibilities too. We track how much radiation a person is exposed to and ensure that they don’t reach their limit.”

According to Tardy, he is grateful for his team at PHCE.

“They are all great teachers, no matter what the question and they are able to help me at a moment’s notice. We motivate each other and grow together,” said Tardy.

The sergeant sees parallels between playing basketball and being in the Army — both are build on support and teamwork.

“Since I played basketball all throughout my life, I know how important teamwork is.,” he added. “Staying resilient is a big part of basketball and also an important trait that made me the man I am today.”

In the beginning of this year, Tardy had the opportunity to compete in the annual Regional Health Command Europe Best Leader Competition.

“This was the first time I’ve ever done something like this and without my team, I would’ve not been able to do it,” he said. “I’m grateful for the team I had, everyone cheered each other on and we didn’t quit on anything.”

Tardy hopes to be able to compete again in the future.

“They say the sky is the limit, but I have been able to achieve everything I wanted to,” he said. “Stay resilient and motivated and keep the people around you motivated. It’ll make everything much better.”

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