As conflict continues in Iraq and Afghanistan, one East Texas soldier has trained to become one of the most important resources on the battlefield, an Army Combat Medic. Saving lives is a medics primary mission, but before Army Combat Medics become lifesavers, they endure four months of grueling training at Fort Sam Houston near San Antonio. Private Matt Shott, 22 of Longview is home on two weeks leave, as a new army medic.
"I wanted to do something constructive, doing something really important, and I didn't really know it at the time, but when I went through the training I saw that we were an extremely vital asset, and I really enjoy being one of the first ones out there to help," said Shott. He's undergone some of the army's most intense training in saving lives under fire, while fighting enemy insurgents at the same time. Everything from real IV's, to mock lifesaving techniques on artificial casualties. Matt's father, Andrew Shott, says he admires his son's commitment to saving lives.
"I'm very proud that he chose that profession," said Andrew Shott. "I think it's a great thing because he gets to get out there and make a difference." More than half of the army medics will find themselves making split second decisions treating casualties, something Shott says he's prepared for.
"Its an awesome feeling knowing that you're the first line of defense on the battlefield, knowing that you have the power to save a life," said Shott. More than 90 percent of battlefield casualties survive because of the efforts of combat medics. Matt hopes he will make that difference for future soldiers.
"It's doing something important that I believe in," said Shott. Shott will report to Fort Bliss in El Paso in April to await his orders. More than half of the medics trained in the course will be deployed to combat areas.