Picture this - you're in the middle of a war zone, your resources are limited, and lives hang in the balance. Now you're starting to grasp the reality of retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum's three-decade-long career in the Air Force. In this episode, Steve recounts his remarkable journey, sharing insights on how medical training has evolved over the years, his time in special ops, and his firsthand experiences during the 9-11 deployments, all while highlighting the crucial role of medical personnel in the world's most challenging environments.
As Steve takes us through his time as an aeromedical specialist, the challenges he faced in the demanding Independent Duty Technician Course, and his experiences in the Special Operations community, we can't help but marvel at his resilience and dedication to the cause. When he talks about his experience in Afghanistan, his tales of patient care under extreme conditions, and the complex logistics of patient evacuation, you'll feel the tension of life on the frontlines, the adrenaline rush, and the immense responsibility that comes with it.
Steve shares valuable leadership lessons that he's picked up from his deployments, his passion for training medical personnel, and the invaluable experiences he gained from his time deployed around the globe. He offers valuable advice to young Air Force airmen looking to make a career in military medicine while reminiscing over the changes he has seen in Air Force Medicine during his illustrious career and contemplating the legacy he hopes to leave in military medicine. Join us as we navigate the highs and lows of a military medic's life with retired Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum.
(0:00:00) - Air Force Medic Training and Journey
(0:05:20) - Aeromedical Specialist and Independent Duty Medical Technician
(0:12:10) - Medical Response to 9-11 Deployments
(0:18:52) - Medical Response in War Zone
(0:23:38) - Special Operations Medical Training Lessons Learned
(0:36:30) - Leadership Lessons and Memorable Deployments
(0:40:17) - Success in Military Medicine
(0:00:00) - Air Force Medic Training and Journey (5 Minutes)
Retired Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum shares his story of joining the Air Force, as well as the unique opportunities and experiences he encountered throughout his 30 years of Active Duty service. We discuss how the training of Air Force medics has changed from the 1990s to now and the clinical skills they must have to be successful. Steve also shares valuable leadership advice from his distinguished career in Special Operations and at the top strategic echelons of military medicine.
(0:05:20) - Aeromedical Specialist and Independent Duty Medical Technician (7 Minutes)
Steve describes his first assignment as an Aeromedical Specialist, the challenges of the Independent Duty Technician Course, and his experiences in the Special Operations community. He talks about the various schools he attended in the pre-911 era and explains what motivated him to pursue each one.
(0:12:10) - Medical Response to 9-11 Deployments (7 Minutes)
We discuss the real-world patient experiences and 9-11 story of Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum. We explore the planning process for missions and trips, the activation of medical personnel after 9-11, and the priority of establishing medical care at an abandoned Russian airfield. Steve shares his experience coordinating a forklift and setting up a small clinic with limited resources. We learn how the Air Force secured the airfield and how they managed patient movement without vehicles.
(0:18:52) - Medical Response in War Zone (5 Minutes)
Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum shares his experience as a medic in Afghanistan. He tells the story of a patient who went into the OR with severe internal bleeding and the process of collecting blood from fellow Soldiers and Airmen. He explains how the team managed to get the patient evacuated for further treatment and shares his story of responding to a JDAM mass casualty. He also discusses the evacuation process for patients and the different types of missions the team flew on.
(0:23:38) - Special Operations Medical Training Lessons Learned (13 Minutes)
We hear from Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum about the lessons learned during his deployments, the value of TCCC and Prolonged Field Care in the Special Operations community, and his experience in medical exercises and deployments. We also hear about Steve's passion for training medical personnel and his mission as the Chief of the Medical Enlisted Force for the Air Force Special Operations Command.
(0:36:30) - Leadership Lessons and Memorable Deployments (4 Minutes)
Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum recounts his most memorable deployment story from Haiti. He shares the experience of working with the media in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, as well as the process of transporting a patient who had jumped out of a two-story hotel window. We hear about the challenges of getting the man to an appropriate medical facility and how medics play a critical role in en-route care. We also consider the value of this experience in terms of learning about leadership and growing up.
(0:40:17) - Success in Military Medicine (6 Minutes)
Chief Master Sergeant Steve Cum shares the advice he provides to young Air Force airmen looking to make a career in Military Medicine, the most essential leadership lesson he learned, and the remarkable changes he noticed in Air Force Medicine over his 30-plus year career. He also shares his thoughts on the remarkable young medics coming into the service, as well as the legacy he hopes to leave in Military Medicine.
Episode Keywords: Air Force, Medical Training, Special Ops, 9-11 Deployments, War Zone, Aeromedical Specialist, Independent Duty Medical Technician, Patient Care, Logistics, Patient Evacuation, Leadership Lessons, Haiti Earthquake, Military Medicine, Young Medics, Air Force Airmen, TCCC, Prolonged Field Care, Media, JDAM Mass Casualty
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