An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : METC News : News : News Display
NEWS | June 25, 2019

Why students shouldn't expect the Army to be their "safety school"

By Tish Williamson, director of communications U.S. Army Medical Department Center of Excellence, Health Readiness Center of Excellence

During a question and answer session with Maj. Gen. Patrick D. Sargent, commander, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence, or HRCoE, a visiting community educator asked what educators should tell their students who think of the military as "their last resort" — in case they do not get into college.

The educator was part of a group of over 70 high school administrators, teachers and college professors visiting from across Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Ohio sponsored by the Cleveland and Milwaukee U.S. Army Recruiting Battalions. The visits to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston are part of an annual initiative sponsored by the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

Sargent said, "Those students who think they are saving the military as their back-up plan need to know that they will still need quality math and English skills to serve in the Army!" Sargent explained that joining today's Army, particularly in such a highly technical and specialized field as Army medicine, is highly selective.

The Army has made it a priority to ensure the quality of officers and Soldiers by identifying and assessing the right talent, skills and credentials to help win our nation's wars and then come home safely.

71 percent of America's youth do not qualify for military service at all. Some disqualifying factors include obesity, drug use, non-waiverable health problems, misconduct, or lack of aptitude. Sargent suggested that the best thing the educators could do to help their students who may be interested in serving in the Army is to link them up with their local recruiter or Junior Reserve Officer Training program early so that they can better understand the qualifications and requirements needed to serve, as well as some of the typical challenges and many benefits they can expect.

The overall purpose of the visit was to ensure these community leaders learn about the countless opportunities available to high school students, college students and citizen providers and to depart Fort Sam Houston with a shared purpose of informing Americans about the many benefits the Army and Army Medicine have to offer.

The HRCoE is the Army's largest civilian-accredited service school and trains more than 35,000 students annually through 192 health related programs of instruction at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The center's trainees represent Soldiers in 109 officer and warrant officer medical areas of concentration and 24 enlisted medical military occupational specialties.

During the two-day event, attendees received overview briefs and tours on key specialty areas, programs and courses that highlight the HRCoE as a premiere 21st century medical education institution to include: Critical Care Flight Paramedics, Tactical Combat Medical Care, Dental Laboratory Assistants, Veterinary Assistants, Radiography Technicians, Respiratory Laboratory Technicians, Surgical Technicians, Physical Therapists and Physician Assistants.

Some attendees also observed joint military training at the Medical Education and Training Campus, or METC. Visitors also got a better idea of the size and scope of the Army Medicine mission and the world class healthcare being provided to our Soldiers, retirees and veterans through tours at Brooke Army Medical Center, or BAMC, the Vogel Resiliency Center and the Center for the Intrepid.

In his closing remarks, Sargent thanked the educators for all that they do to help their students figure out what it is they are meant to do in life. "That is a powerful and noble mission, and you have my utmost respect," he said.

Sargent also noted that there are many intangible qualities that help ensure success in the Army like accountability, responsibility and motivation that teachers, professors and administrators are uniquely equipped to assess in young adults.

Sargent continued, "Building upon these qualities that are required and honed as a result of serving something larger than yourself is something that I think all Americans would benefit from experiencing."

To learn more about careers available in Army medicine, visit