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Special Forces medics to team up with W. Va. hospital

A Special Forces Medical Sergeant assists nurses in caring for a burn victim at the University of North Carolina's Jaycee Burn Clinic on Feb. 28, 2011 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

DAVID CHASE/U.S. ARMY

By THE DOMINION POST, MORGANTOWN, W.VA. Published: March 16, 2017

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Tribune News Service) — For soldiers in the field — especially combat zones — Special Forces medical sergeants hold a special place at the front of the pack.

They are the first responders in circumstances where there are no other responders.

They treat the trauma of bodies torn by bullets and bombs.

They operate their own combat laboratories on the go.

They have a working knowledge of dentistry and optometry; and they even know about water quality, sanitation concerns and veterinary medicine.

And now, they’ll train at West Virginia’s flagship university.

Wednesday, the university announced the partnership between WVU Medicine and the 82nd Airborne, the crack military outfit stationed at the Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

WVU’s Dr. George Bal, an orthopedic surgeon and veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne, helped put it together after he learned the Army was enlisting hospitals as clinical training sites for its Special Forces soldiers.

Soldiers will shuttle up to WVU for 28-day training periods several times throughout the year, Bal said.

In Morgantown, they will work in clinical settings from anesthesiology or oral and maxillofacial surgery, the physician said.

“From my experience working with an instructor with the 82nd, I know how motivated these guys are going into the training,” Bal said.

“Motivated,” is the word, said Ludwig Brenke, a medical sergeant based at Fort Bragg who has completed deployments in Iraq and Africa, among other missions in extreme locales.

Currently, he’s an instructor at Fort Bragg and came up for Wednesday’s announcement.

“The people I see work hard,” he said. “They are motivated. A lot of them have been active duty and have deployed to war zones, so they know what they’re getting into.”

But, he stressed, not as a medical sergeant.

“You just have to tell them straight up,” he said. “Of course, when they get there, they see it for themselves.”

Brenke was motivated to join the military after September 11th.

“The towers came down and I went in,” he said.

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©2017 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.)
Visit The Dominion Post at www.dominionpost.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
 

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