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NEWS | Aug. 9, 2021

Spc. Sarah Cloutier describes her Initial IRT Experience

By (Courtesy article) 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support)

We often read about the high-level and strategic benefits to readiness Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) provide from Army leaders. The story below, from Spc. Sarah Cloutier, describes the experience of a Soldier six-months out of Advanced Individual Training (AIT).


Here is Spc. Cloutier’s experience, in her words.


The IRT mission has been an incredible experience for myself and many other Service members involved. The real-world training we participate in is so effective and applicable to myself as a 68W, Combat Medic.


An eye-opening benefit has been the cross-training and joint training experience. I know many new and even higher ranking military personnel where this is their first time working with other branches. Working side-by-side so many military personnel with different levels of experience and skills allows an opportunity to experience new jobs young Soldiers otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with.


For example, one of the fellow 68W, 456th Area Support Medical Company Soldiers, Spc. Joshua Worthington, was been trained by Air Force Dentists to take dental x-rays and has spent time training as a dental assistant. It is exciting to see how much he enjoys it and the new experience keeps him engaged and excited to work every day.


My 68W training was held at Joint Base San Antonio, but I rarely, if ever, talked to any Navy or Air Force members. It’s been amazing to work with all types of people and learn the different ranks and customs of other branches. Even the small customs, which I had the opportunity to learn, are enrichments to the IRT. This has helped me understand their history and experiences and that with our differences we are still the same.


The ability to engage with the community has been phenomenal. Several of us are fresh out of AIT and this is our first military mission; helping real people with real needs. It makes you feel like you deserve the status of soldier/airman/seaman. For me, this IRT mission was so important to volunteer for. It benefits 100% of the people involved: military and community, all different ranks and locations and backgrounds.


As a new Soldier, it’s really put my job into perspective in a real-world sense and I’ve loved how many opportunities I have gotten to put in practice what I have been training for. It gives me a sense of worth and I now know that I can do a lot of good things as I continue my military career.


I’ve had a productive and interesting time meeting people with all types of background and experience. Especially this being the first time I work alongside Physician Assistants; I’ve been asking as many questions as possible and engaging with them so they can pass on some of their knowledge with me to make me a better medic. This has paid off as a lot of the patients come in with serious issues they haven’t been able to treat in the past, so you get to work with them and follow up with them and hear how much it means to them that you could be a part of their treatment.


This IRT mission has been a complete success for me. I have a lot more confidence in my capabilities as a Soldier, a server of the community, and a medic.