As a native of Orlando, FL, he and his wife even have an annual pass to Disneyworld.
But it’s what he does at his other job that sets him apart from the rest, “I joined the Army National Guard so I could achieve a balance. I can go to school, stay at home most of the time, and serve my country.”
And serve he does. Not just his Nation and State, but his fellow Soldiers as well, because SGT Christopher Adkins serves as a combat medic.
Combat medics, part of the Health Care Specialist Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), provide on-the-spot emergency care for wounded or injured Soldiers or civilians depending on the mission. And a combat medic only earns their Combat Medic Badge (CMB) when they provide care under fire.
SGT Adkins earned his CMB in 2010 after he deployed to Kuwait and Iraq with the 53rd Infantry Brigade.
“We were convoy escort,” SGT Adkins said. “We provided security for the trucks coming into and out of Iraq.”
This put him on site when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off, injuring several of his fellow Soldiers.
“As cliché as it sounds, the training really does take over. It’s like muscle memory at that point,” SGT Adkins said. “You just get really focused on taking care of the wounded, making sure they get home safe to their families.”
In addition to the CMB, the State thought enough of his actions to nominate him as a Hometown Hero.
“It was quite a surprise. And very cool. My Sergeant called and asked if I wanted it,” SGT Adkins said. “Of course I wanted it. You don’t turn down an honor like that.”
From there, SGT Adkins attended and recently graduated from civilian paramedic school, which the Guard helped him pay for. He believes there are clearly similarities between his role as medic in the Guard and as a civilian paramedic, but also significant differences, mostly in the types of care that he needs to administer.
“As a combat medic, you are going to be dealing with more combat-related injuries (like the results of the IED attack),” SGT Adkins said, “while as a paramedic you are dealing with more medical issues like heart attacks and strokes.”
The next step SGT Adkins will take is applying for the Army’s two-year Physicians Assistant (PA) program. PAs practice medicine under the direction of a medical doctor or surgeon and examine patients, as well as provide diagnoses and treatments for injuries and illnesses.
SGT Adkins gives a great deal of credit for his successes to his Guard experience.
“The Guard put me in the right frame of mind. It gave me a career focus, a good attitude, and helped me pay for paramedic school,” SGT Adkins said. “It helped me develop discipline, good study habits, and drive. It made it possible to set aside distractions and focus on what I had in hand. I’ll stay with the Guard as long as they let me.”