Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Iraq Bomb Attack Led Soldier to Pursue Medical Career

Image of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mathew Maxwell (Left) and U.S. Capt. Brian Ahern, medical personnel assigned to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) recovery team, check the pulse of a local villager during excavation operations in the Houaphan province, Laos, Feb. 5, 2019. U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mathew Maxwell (Left) and U.S. Capt. Brian Ahern, medical personnel assigned to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recovery team, check the pulse of a local villager during excavation operations in the Houaphan province, Laos, Feb. 5, 2019.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Army Master Sgt. Mathew Maxwell never planned to join a military medical career field.

Born in the United States, but raised in Canada, Maxwell started out in military intelligence with the Idaho Army National Guard. Before he deployed to Iraq in 2004, he took a Combat Life Saver course.

Several months later, he was out with his platoon when his unit was struck by a vehicle-borne improvised explosion device.

"I had to treat a seriously wounded patient as a CLS. I was the only one in the platoon that had the skills and abilities to help," he recalled. "I entered a bombed out building and treated and moved two patients that were on the roof… I was able to use the training I had and help them both."

"That's when I knew I wanted to do more in the medical field. This is the experience that convinced me to re-class and become a medic," Maxwell said.

Today, Maxwell is the senior enlisted advisor for the DHA Chief Nursing Officer at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia. And last summer, he received his Bachelor in Health Care Administration from Purdue University.

His experience treating wounded soldiers for the first time changed the direction of his career. He later reclassified as a "68 Whiskey" – the Army's occupational specialty for combat medics.

To get underway with his new career track, the Army sent him to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. As a prior service trainee, he received Advanced Individual Training as a Combat Medic, and was assigned to a deploying unit immediately after graduation.

"I was in Afghanistan six weeks after graduation and working in a battalion aid station," he recalled.

Maxwell then earned his Basic Life Saver instructor certification. After several years, the Army assigned him to be a Tactical Combat Casualty Care instructor, where he taught combat medic skills to other soldiers who were already in the "68 Whiskey" career field and preparing to deploy.

As the Military Health System observes this year's Nurses Week, Maxwell noted that the military medical community defines the nursing community very broadly to include medical professionals beyond just those who have received a registered nursing degree.

"When we say nursing, we are talking about a very broad scope of positions and responsibilities," he said. "Of course, we mean all of the commissioned officers, enlisted LPNs, GS civilians and contractors that work in our hospitals in the nursing positions."

"We also mean the nursing teams that support the care of patients, both in and out of a hospital," he added. "We put a lot onto our service members. We ask them to be the best nurse, medic, or corpsman they can be, and then give them additional duties outside of their medical ones."

"I know most of the Army medics, Air Force techs, and Navy corpsmen don't often think of themselves as nurses, but we are working to change how the force views them," he said.

"We want everyone to know that when we refer to Military Health System nursing, it is the entire care team that is responsible for patient care.

"Whether you are on a ship as an independent duty corpsman, or a medic on the line, you are part of the nursing team, and we want to recognize your contribution to the MHS and nursing."

You also may be interested in...

DoD Instruction 6200.05: Force Health Protection Quality Assurance (FHPQA) Program

Policy

This issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and defines requirements for the development and establishment of the FHPQA Program in accordance with the authority in DoD Directive (DoDD) 5124.02, Sections 731 and 738 of Public Law 108-375; Sections 1074f, 1092a, and 1073b of Title 10, United States Code; and DoDDs 6200.04 and 5136.13.

DoD Instruction 6490.13: Comprehensive Policy on Traumatic Brain Injury-Related Neurocognitive Assessments by the Military Services

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes standard elements, pursuant to section 722 of Public Law 111-383, requiring the implementation of a comprehensive neurocognitive assessment policy in the Military Services.

Embedded Fragment Analyses

Policy

Clarification of the Requirement for Continuation of Semi-Annual Reporting of Results of Embedded Fragment Analyses

Detecting and Reporting DoD Cases of Ebola Virus Disease Infection

Policy

Guidance as of 17 OCT 2014 from the Department of Defese (AFHSC)for Detecting and Reporting DoD Cases of Ebola Virus Disease Infection

Influenza Surveillance Program

Policy

Sentinel Sites for the 2014-2015 Influenza Surveillance Program

Deployment Limiting Mental Disorders and Psychotrophic Medications

Policy

Policy memorandum about Deployment Limiting Mental Disorders and Psychotrophic Medications

DoD Laboratories Participating in CDC Laboratory Response Network 03-213

Policy

Department of Defense (DoD) laboratories participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored Laboratory Response Network (LRN) do so with the approval and support of their respective Military Department Surgeons General.

Medical Planning and Programming Lexicon

Policy

DoD Instruction Number 6490.11: DoD Policy Guidance for Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion in the Deployed Setting

Policy

This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures on the management of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, in the deployed setting.

Access to Medical Services Who were Exposed to Rabies in Combat Theater

Policy

U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps COSC Policy Update

Policy

Mental Health Assessments for Members of the Armed Forces Deployed in Connection with a Contingency Operation

Policy

CJCSI 3137.01D The Functional Capabilities Board (FCB)

Policy

Updated Changes to Health Affairs' Policy on Dental Readiness within the Services

Policy

DoD Directive 6200.04: Force Health Protection

Policy

This Directive establishes policy and assigns responsibility for implementing Force Health Protection (FHP) measures, on behalf of all Military Service members during active and Reserve military service, encompassing the full spectrum of missions, responsibilities, and actions of the DoD Components in establishing, sustaining, restoring, and improving the health of their forces.

<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2
Refine your search
Last Updated: May 27, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.