JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston is home to the Biomedical Equipment Technician program that meets the unique mission of training, mentoring, professionally developing and qualifying the most proficient Air Force, Army and Navy biomedical equipment technicians.
This mission is carried out by the METC instructors and leadership.
“Our goal at the end of the day is to prepare them for the widest variety of medical equipment that they’re going to encounter Department of Defense-wide,” said Staff Sgt. Austin Jur, 59th Training Group METC instructor.
Each of the courses is composed of portions of lecturing, demonstration, hands-on training and evaluated performance.
“It prepares the students for some of the more difficult jobs that they may experience and they’re ready to solve the problem on their own,” said Jur.
The first 12 courses are instructed in a joint environment.
“We train Army, Navy, Air Force and we have quite a few friendly foreign country military members come through as well,” Jur said. “That speaks for our joint training ability.”
While each branch has different needs, the majority of the training is joint to promote interoperability.
“The goal of our joint training is to make sure that, regardless of service, each of our BMETs is able to speak the same language,” said Master Sgt. Holli Marshall, 59th TRG METC instructor supervisor.
After students complete their joint training, they move on to a final, service-specific course.
“It’s a completely different structure,” Jur said. “The way the Air Force structures everything is so wildly different from the Army and Navy, that it really does deserve its own course.”
For Air Force students, this course trains Airmen to be fully prepared for their duty station and the deployed environment.
“A great thing about the Air Force specific course is that we’re teaching the Airmen how to transition from learning the basic technical skills into being actual Air Force BMETs,” Marshall said. “We teach them how to write Air Force work orders and correctly communicate what happened with a piece of equipment from start to finish. They also go through the wide-area virtual environment simulator in order to make sure they can do care under fire that way when they’re deployed they’re ready to go.”
The program conducts approximately 13 Air Force iterations per year.
“It’s been a hard course since I came in almost 20 years ago, but we’re getting faster and more proficient Airmen through the course,” Marshall said. “When I came through the program the washout rate was 78 percent. Now we’re below three percent for the Air Force.”
The BMET program continues to carry out its mission with a vision of being recognized as the world-renowned Center of Excellence for BMET training.
“So, while the course is getting longer and more challenging, our BMETs are getting smarter and more capable,” Marshall said. “If they can survive this 11-month program, they can survive anything.”