FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
One year ago on April 27, 2011, the Basic Medical Technician Corpsman Program (BMTCP) officially opened its doors to its first 194 students at the Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) on Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Not only was this a significant milestone for the department of defense, but for the very first time in its history, two services combined their entry level enlisted medical programs: the U.S. Navy from Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill. and the U.S. Air Force from the Aerospace Medical Service Apprentice Course (AMSA) at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. Combined, these programs represented over 145 years of training and molding entry level corpsmen and medical technicians.
Exactly one year later, a new era of training was celebrated with an anniversary ceremony recognizing the successful journey from two separate training entities to one combined program. A cake cutting ceremony symbolizing the joining of two separate Department of Defense services under METC was conducted by the first and last assigned Navy and Air Force instructors as well as the inaugural commandant, Rear Adm. Bob Kiser. The Navy paid tribute to those hospital corpsmen who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the field of battle. The ceremony ended with the reciting of the Airman's Creed and Sailor's Creed.
Chief Master Sgt. David Montano, Senior Enlisted Leader of the 937th Training Group, the Air Force component that supports METC, said he is thoroughly in awe of all that has happened in making this historic event possible.
"We have moved much to make it to this point, and have grown so much along the way. The fruits of all of this hard work will certainly echo beyond our DoD's Medical Service realms, and from a global perspective METC represents the basis thousands of young minds will use as they move forward in changing our world for the better in the years to come," he said.
The BMTCP program started out with a staff of 39 Navy and 50 Air Force instructors. One hundred and fifty Navy and 44 Air Force students were in the first class.
Over the past year, BMTCP has graduated over 3,700 Navy and over 1,000 Air Force students and now has a combined Navy and Air Force staff of more than 200 personnel. Students are educated, trained and prepared with the necessary capabilities and proper tools to deploy all over the world in support of the nation's war fighters and their families.
"I'm so proud of this school. I'm proud of what it stands for and what it has become," said Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Shanon Best, Command Master Chief of the Navy Medicine Training Support Center (NMTSC), the Navy component that supports METC.
"I truly believe each graduate of this program leaves San Antonio an Exceptional Military Health Care Provider," he added. "I know this first hand because I graduated Hospital Corps School, San Diego in 1989....and comparing the two different schools and the curriculum ...I am very envious."