By Airman Alexis Christian | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — When you wake up on a work day and you’re not feeling too great, it’s pretty easy to walk into the base military treatment facility to get yourself taken care of. However, when you hold a position that puts you at a minimum of 30 minutes away from an MTF, that can provide a bit of a challenge.
Tech. Sgt. Jerrica Wild, 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron independent duty medical technician, and her coworkers ensure medical care isn’t an issue for the military service members and civilians located at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado.
“Our main mission is to provide sick call for the members at the mountain and help them feel better so the mission doesn’t suffer.”
Every person stationed at the mountain has a specific job to do, and most positions are filled by multiple people, but commuting to Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado for healthcare puts a strain on their staffing resources.
“It’s easier for them to be able to just stop by our office and have us take care of it,” said Wild. “It’s great to know that these individuals who are out here looking out for national security can count on us to alleviate the pressure of medical care when they need it.”
Being an IDMT allows Wild to provide more care than most enlisted medical technicians. With her extra training and certifications, she is able to see patients, diagnose them and prescribe medications, and get patients the care they need without having to see three different people.
“We are the only enlisted providers in the Air Force,” Wild said. “The training I have enables me to see active duty members for acute issues and provide them with the same care they would get from any other provider. We have the ability to help lessen the patient load for the providers here at Peterson and act as a medical asset for different squadrons.”
IDMTs mostly exist for deployment settings, according to Wild, where there may be one IDMT to an entire squadron. They are trained to diagnose, prescribe medications, draw blood and do lab work, work as public health and bioenvironmental agents, dental and pharmacy technicians and provide immunizations.
“We are deemed the jacks-of-all-trades, because we are specialized in a little bit of everything that encompasses a clinic,” said Wild. “It can be a stressful job, and you have to be a forward thinker and very dedicated to making sure that you keep up on all your training and certifications current.”
As an IDMT, Wild is part of a full lockdown medical asset team at Cheyenne Mountain.
“If there is any threat to the United States or anything like 9/11, everyone gets recalled, and those blast doors get closed,” said Wild. “Our job at that point is to make sure that we can provide medical care to any who need it.”
The medical team has flight surgeons, mental health, IDMTs and public health personnel. With the whole team present, they are able to split into shifts to make sure that no one person is overworked.
“The biggest challenge is getting into the mindset of how we would operate under a lockdown situation,” said Wild. “It’s like working in a deployed environment, just in a hardened facility. It’s just as demanding, just a different setting.”
To prepare, the teams undergo frequent exercises and participate in annual exercises all Cheyenne Mountain personnel go through.
“Sometimes all the work and training can be a bit extreme,” said Wild, “but knowing that we can make an impact like that and having the ability to make a difference to the mission firsthand makes it worth it.”