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Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen accepted a plaque from Lieutenant General Norton A. Schwartz, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), in recognition of the City's work in training Special Operations Combat Medics.
The Mayor was also joined by Colonel Steven Yevich, MD, Command Surgeon for USSOCOM; as well as Major Kevin Riley and Captain Chris Reynolds, who both serve as Medical Training Officers at USSOCOM.
To provide USSOCOM personnel (which includes the Navy SEALS, Army Green Berets and Rangers, and Air Force Special Operations) with hands-on emergency medical training, the New York City Fire Department developed a program in October 1996 that would allow Special Operations Combat Medics to work side-by-side with City Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) from the largest and busiest Emergency Medical Service in the world. Since 1996, New York City has hosted 14 teams of Special Operations Combat Medics that have trained on the job with City EMTs.
"It's an honor to receive this plaque on behalf of the City," said Mayor Giuliani. "This is a great program which allows the nation's Special Operation Forces to receive hands-on training from the men and women of the New York City Fire Department. Our City's centralized Emergency Medical Services and Hospital system serve as proving grounds for our military's most elite and well trained personnel, and I'm pleased that New York City is able to play this important role in training our Armed Forces."
A highly trained enlisted sergeant, known as a Special Operations Combat Medic, accompanies each Special Operations team in combat. These individuals receive 24 weeks of training that covers a wide range of highly specific medical emergencies. Part of their training requires certification by the National Registry of EMTs at the EMT-Basic and Paramedic levels. The United States Armed Forces chose New York City to assist in training their most elite medical troops, because no other City in the nation combines its size with its first class trauma support centers. In addition, New York City exceeds the national standards for EMT training that Special Operations Medics need.
"New York City has welcomed and supported our training requirements since the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center first opened in July 1996," said Lieutenant General Schwartz. "We look forward to the continued support and outstanding training opportunity with the men and women of the New York City Fire Department. We will continue to provide our best and brightest to support not only our military training needs, but also share the standard of excellence with the City that has been our standard of excellence for military support. On behalf of USSOCOM, I want to thank Mayor Giuliani and Fire Commissioner Von Essen for their continued support."
Since 1996, 620 Special Operations Combat Medics have received their training with New York City EMTs. Many have gone on to serve in humanitarian assistance missions, peacekeeping, refugee and rescue operations around the globe. Each student has received a minimum of 240 hours of ambulance and clinical experience during their intense 30-day training program, which has given them the opportunity to work with more than 60,000 patients.
"After serving in the U.S. Submarine Service, I have witnessed first hand the need for and the importance of good emergency medical training for the military," said Fire Commissioner Von Essen. "The United States Special Operations Forces have the best military training available today, and now they have the best hands-on emergency medical training available today."