GILLEM ENCLAVE, Ga. –
With today’s COVID pandemic, the importance of 68As (biomedical equipment technicians) in the medical community both military and civilian has become a critical need. The Army Reserve is a key military resource for this service. For perspective, the 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support) and its subordinate units are tasked with maintaining approximately 5,800 Medical devices internally and another 2,000 external to other Army Reserve units.
With that in mind, the 3d Medical Command and Army Reserve, is working on ways to generate interest and awareness within the medical community as there continues to be a need for more 68A personnel.
Starting in 2011, the Army Reserve partnered with General Electric (GE) creating the 68A, General Electric Military Externship Program. This ten-month training program takes TPU 68As and exposes them the latest and greatest training and technology through contributions from General Electric. With two on-site training session at GE’s Healthcare Institute and two field mentorship opportunities, Army Reserve Soldiers receive one-on-one training and sponsorship from advance level GE instructors and staff. Combining classroom learning with hands-on experience, Soldiers gain the expertise to install and maintain the latest medical systems and devices used in the military and civilian medical systems.
“As a 68A Solider, this program was key to the success of my personal career,” said Staff Sgt. Octavia Fuller. Adding, “In 2014, I reclassed as an E5 from a Human Resource NCO (42A) to the medical field. After completing my reclass training I was accepted into the externship program and three months after completing the program I was hired by GE as a full-time technician. I could never imagine the reinforcement of my diagnostics and troubleshooting capabilities the program offered me. I was exposed to new, state of the art medical equipment.”
In July 2019, Fuller was called to active duty to mobilize as the senior biomedical NCO. She had only 2 days to respond and reported to her new unit two weeks later.
“I was lead of 12 biomedical technicians and was expected to prepare them to sustain medical maintenance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As biomedical technicians we are responsible for patient care just as doctors and without my daily experience as a civilian GE lead technician, I would have been lost. There was no time for retraining,” Fuller said. Adding, “We must always be ready to deploy. As deployment support, any time a Reservist can unite their military and civilian occupations is a win for both sectors. That is exactly what the 68A General Electric Military Externship Program does for our Soldiers.”