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jsfelder0417 last won the day on July 8 2014

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About jsfelder0417

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  1. I can jump in and add. I was an Army Medic on active duty for about 7 years before being released from active duty to attend a civilian PA school. Once I graduated, I joined the National Guard. I direct-commissioned as a 1LT with 6 months constructive credit towards O-3 in May of this year. I also just graduated from BOLC on Nov. 20th of this year. If you can I would recommend going to Phase II in the Spring or Fall when the weather is nice. Phase I is an online portion that is 83.5 hours long through the ALMS (Army Learning Management System.) You can self-enroll through ATRRS once you commission. Give yourself plenty of time. It is designed so that you cannot blast through it, or test out in the pre test like we could in previous distance courses. It's the basics of soldiering, i.e. "This is an M16, this is how it works, this is your sight picture, this is how you disassemble, reassemble and perform a functions check." Get with your Training NCO to figure out getting paid for it, or getting constructive credit towards retirement. Phase II is a resident portion spent at Ft Sam Houston, TX (Now known as JBSA-Joint Base San Antonio) for the didactics, and Camp Bullis for the field portion. It is 28 days long for Reserve/Guard soldiers. You will integrate with the active duty personnel that have already been in didactics for 3 weeks, that are coming out of ROTC, IPAP and such. Some might be stand-offish, but mine were cool with both new soldiers and prior service personnel. The first week, and your Saturdays are spent on JBSA in the AMEDD C & S (Army Medical Department Center & School) Auditorium, doing lectures. The other 3 weeks are spent "in the field" M-F. So you'll be spending your weeks living in a tent city on Camp Bullis. You will do Land Navigation in the day and night, M9 pistol ranges, M16 rifle ranges, Litter Obstacle Courses, Confidence Courses, two 4 mile ruck marches, the Gas Chamber and work in the simulated echelons of care i.e. you will run a Role I/Battalion Aid Station that is forward deployed, then a Role II/Brigade Aid Station, that is to the rear, and finally a Role III/Combat Support Hospital that would be the tertiary care center for a combat theater. The familiarization exercises are just that. They won't make you an expert on the echelons of care and running them, but they will deepen your understanding and it is valuable training. Also of great importance was the chance to meet our branch managers. Pay attention to these people. They are the ones that cut your orders to units and locations, and have tremendous influence in your career. As for PT, if you have an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) scorecard that is less than 6 months old, you are set. Just ensure that it is filled out correctly and bring a copy with you to hand off and that's it. If not, you won't get kicked out, the cadre will just administer a PT test while you are there. You've already been linked to the standards. Just meet them and you're good. Blow them away and you're great. Fail the PT test and that's one of the few things that will get you sent home. For the other events, they are graded GO/NO-GO, however, you are not expected to handle weapons, land nav and such like a Ranger or a Special Forces soldier. Demonstrate a basic understanding and proficiency and you will pass. Even if you don't, you'll just get retrained and get another chance. People were freaking out about the Gas Chamber. Don't. Seriously, don't. They go easy on us AMEDD officers. Just spit out your name, rank, a fake social security number and place of birth and walk out. They don't cook enough CS tabs to make that a particularly difficult task. The only people that should take caution are those with respiratory, dermatologic (Cholinergic Urticaria) or eye conditions. Everyone else is back to normal in 10 minutes, laughing at each other and the wacky things people do in the chamber. It's good training for someone with no background in the military, and set in San Antonio, where there is tons of fun stuff to do in your off time. For those that have prior service, it is still pretty fun, even though most of it was old hat; it was basically a watered down conglomeration of 91W/68W (Medic) school and EFMB. I spent most of my time whispering in the ears of my class mates walking them through land nav, weapons handling and such. If you are new, make friends with a prior service soldier that isn't a jerk. They can make your life much easier by making sure you are squared away prior to stepping out to complete a task. Parting words: Just keep in mind it is still TRADOC, so there is an inherent amount of a cluster ___ built in.
  2. I will echo the above. I have been working for the VA for about 6 months, as a new grad. I am also currently serving with the National Guard, and was active duty previously. Although I could make more in the civilian sector, the VA is far and away the most friendly towards my service, because I am pursuing lots of 'cool guy' schools as a new MED O, and will deploy sooner than later. Although no civilian employers outright said they wouldn't hire me because of my military commitments, I could read their facial expressions and body language like a book. The time off is awesome (~7 wks/yr with PTO, SL, ML and holidays!) I have a wife and 2 kids, and the little time that I spend with them is incredibly precious, and worth far more to me than the small bump in pay I would get in the civilian sector vs the VA. It is a large goobermint organization though, so there are plenty of headaches to deal with as well. CPRS (the EMR,) gets a bad rap, but I find it quite useable. I believe that one of my biggest complaints is that my peds knowledge/skills are deteriorating, as I never treat them outside of the military, or the sniffles in my own crumbsnatchers.
  3. jsfelder0417

    VA Careers

    The 2 people that I have talked to like it. There is a lot of documentation, of course. There is also a decent amount of investigating necessary, as our Vietnam era vets often don't have documentation in digital format. However, they said that it is rewarding when you can help a Vet with a rightful claim that would have otherwise have been denied because they didn't have/know how to track down their documents. The demand is steady, but not overwhelming. The skills of working C&P are also highly transferrable throughout the VA system, so if you want to move around a lot during your career, it's good for that.
  4. jsfelder0417

    VA Careers

    Primary care from what i've heard is a beast at the VA. Particularly at the CBOCs, where providers are worked like dogs. That is just what i've heard, though. So take it with a grain of salt.
  5. jsfelder0417

    VA Careers

    Mine is going well so far. With the spotlight on the VA, there is lots of chart review, and there are plenty of boxes to check, but the chief of my service is very open and a great, passionate mentor. Also, I enjoy being the only provider in the National Guard for the Holistic Medicine service, so there is a high level of friendliness towards military obligations.
  6. I will be in the Support Battalion for the foreseeable future, so i'll be on the traditional promotion timeline. From what I understand, the link on GKO is like the old MODs portal where AMEDD personnel could volunteer, correct? Sounds like I'd have to bide my time and get some training under my belt. I just graduated last year.
  7. Great info, thank you. I am not assigned to 19th Group yet. I have a paragraph and line number lined up for the GSB, but still have to meet for an interview with the Group Surgeon next month before I will be placed in that position. If placed there, I will pursue JSOMOC, as well as other distance courses from the JSOU like Intro to UW and various other things. I am excited about the potential placement with 19th, from what I have seen, they are good dudes with good missions. I for one am a believer in UW/FID/COIN and the like. It's awesome to see force multipliers in action like that. I'm also excited they are entertaining me even though I come from a conventional background. It was made clear that this is not the norm, so it's humbling for sure. That's awesome that you are with Idaho ARNG. I just moved from Meridian, ID to SLC last August. I went to ISU's PA program. So far ID has been my favorite place to live, it is such a beautiful state. Anyway, thanks for the info on the name change for Trop Med. I had tried looking for it but was only getting old info. Makes sense now.
  8. There is an AGR slot that just opened up at Camp Williams in Salt Lake City, UT for a 65D. It is an O4 slot, so there is a good amount of room for promotion. It is at the medical readiness center mainly doing SRPs and such. It is a busy place for an SRP site because 19th SFG (A) is based out of there as well. If you want a POC shoot me a PM.
  9. Interesting. Yes, I am Guard, and new as of this year. I have 7 years active duty time, serving enlisted before crossing over as a 65D. I am on the TO&E side still, so operational experience won't be a problem. I have a few ASI's currently, generic stuff like ABN, combatives etc. I am looking to add some more specific things like AMPA, TCMC and JSOMOC in the near future. If you can find that career mapper it would be much appreciated.
  10. I don't recall saying that I was special, if that is what people got out of it then so be it. Maybe I wasn't as clear as I thought. To clarify, I was trying to point out that I feel the GI Bill is earned through sacrifice. Sure, the military is all-volunteer, but I had no real clue what I was getting myself into when I signed up at 17. I thought I did, but I wasn't even close. Yes, the GI Bill doesn't cost the individual any money, as was pointed out. Yes, I also realize that the GI Bill was not a right, but I do feel that I earned every penny that I used of it. I would hate to see what would happen if the gov't did renege on the GI Bill, though. Sorry for the confusion, and for hijacking the thread.
  11. Even though it's not really adding to the thread, I feel compelled to speak on one point. The education provided by the GI Bill is not free. It makes me irate when people say that. I earned the GI Bill by sacrificing my youth. I spent my 21st birthday in the middle east wondering if I would see 22, while pounding the ground with an Airborne Infantry unit. I will never be the same person that I was before I went to war, and I carry some things that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I am sure you and most other people don't mean any harm, but saying the GI Bill comes free is incredibly disrespectful.
  12. I am a husband and father, and we had our son 6 weeks into the first semester of PA school. We weren't planning on it, either. We had just gotten off of active duty in South Korea, and moved to Idaho, not knowing anyone in the area. We had our son on a Tuesday, during my mid term week. I was studying during lulls in labor, and only took 1 day off. I didn't sleep much those first few weeks, nor was my studying very effective. There is a state of existence you reach during Army Ranger school known as 'Droning,' where you are not really asleep, and not really awake, you just kind of 'are.' Those first few weeks I was droning a lot. I remember lots of energy drinks, and time blurred between school, the hospital and home. Somehow I still managed to score in the mid 80% for all my mid terms. It got better as I found a groove. I found that if I got to school at 630am, I could study for the hour and a half before class and do pretty well. I studied early in the morning because I couldn't get anything done when I got home, between a wife, a baby, and a dog. After school was their time. It is not easy, but it can be done, and I wouldn't change it now.
  13. Oh my....if you think that was insensitive, just wait until your EM or Gen Surg rotation. Besides, the phrase was "less professional" not unprofessional. Also, there are plenty of reasons to call people unprofessional. I digress. Regardless of the point of the message, the delivery was disjointed and hard to follow. It is hard to be empathetic when I can't understand someone, but maybe that's just me. Before anyone accuses me of being racially insensitive, I am Black and Mexican.
  14. I can only speak for the UT National Guard, but the state has one slot for a 65D with the aviation battalion. I am taking the other available slot.
  15. What is the promotional timeline for 65Ds? I am assessing as an O-2E, with 6 months constructive credit for O-3. I have looked at career lifecycle models, but the info is old, and I don't know if it has changed with the drawdown. Are O-2 65Ds still looking at O-3 with 24 months TIG as an O-2, and O-4 in 4-6 years after making O-3, or have these timeframes changed in the last few years?
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