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Face of Defense: Medical Technician Aids Rescue Team

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, Oct. 26, 2011 – Jumping out of C-130s, rappelling out of helicopters, and saving lives are all in a day's work for the pararescuemen of the 212th Rescue Squadron here.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Darrell Mathieu, an individual duty medical technician with the 212th Rescue Squadron, checks medical equipment inventory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 12, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The 212th has saved 56 saves this year and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Darrell Mathieu, the squadron’s individual duty medical technician, plays a key role in that success.

He does everything from logistics to training, and holds classes to teach the pararescuemen how to properly use their equipment.

Mathieu is a tactical combat casualty care instructor and a CPR instructor. He holds additional medical certifications in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support. He’s also a nationally registered paramedic.

"As an IDMT, I have to be very versatile and make do with what medications I'm given and use what equipment I have to make the mission work," Mathieu said.

"Everything is very improvisational,” he continued. “They come to me and say, 'This is what we need.' I look at what we have and say, 'Here's what we got; let's make it work.'"

Because the pararescue business can get rough, Mathieu also diagnoses and treats injured members of his team.

Mathieu runs his team through training scenarios until they're comfortable and proficient at treating patients.

"He is constantly seeking out ways for us to make us better," said Air Force Master Sgt. Roger Sparks, a 212th pararescueman.

Mathieu is knowledgeable in clinical medicine and he incorporates that knowledge into the unit’s training, Sparks said.

"He is the bridge between clinical medicine and elite trauma medicine," Sparks added.

Mathieu is required to be mobile and provide support in places that may not have medical facilities. He said he’s worked with U.S. joint forces and troops from other nations.

Mathieu said he enjoys his job tremendously.

"It is so rewarding to support pararescuemen when there is a constant, direct reflection of your work on a daily basis," he said.


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