A field medic, also known as an Army combat medic, holds the designation "68W” in the US Army and performs emergency medical assistance on wounded soldiers in battle. The field medic primarily prepares the soldier for triage, taking their vital signs and treating wounds with sterilization and dressings. His main objective is to allow a stable and swift evacuation to a proper facility in order to provide appropriate treatment. Field medics may also work in an Army hospital assisting doctors.
Responsibility for the maintenance of medical vehicles, such as ambulances, also falls to field medics. Receiving 25 weeks of training, including 16 weeks of specialized medical training, field medics are qualified at the same level as a medical assistant. However, due to the particular stresses of battle, field medics are required to train in simulated combat situations to ensure they are prepared to accomplish their mission sin life-threatening situations.
Field medics are generally assigned to any platoon which may face combat to monitor the soldiers’ health on an ongoing basis and to be readily available to provide any required treatment. Although field medics are protected under the Geneva Convention, some enemy combatants do not recognize these strictures, so field medics in the U.S. Army carry weapons for their own defense.