When a man with blood coming from the top of his head was escorted through the doors of the Forward Operating Base Shank west aid station, Sept. 11, 2012, the medics who work there jumped into action.
U.S. Army Pfc. Khaley Jenkins, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Raptor, is one of those medics.
“Pfc. Jenkins came to us in March of 2012,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Gauthier, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Raptor, and Jenkins’ first-line leader. “At first she was timid, polite and smart, but timid, and that’s something we worry about with medics because of the things we deal with: trauma, blood and danger.”
But Jenkins has surpassed first impressions and expectations alike.
“I’ve seen a significant amount of improvement,” added Gauthier. “Just recently, Jenkins has gone to the Soldier of the Month and the Soldier of the Quarter boards here and won both. She has really risen to the occasion.”
Humble and quiet, Jenkins stays focused on her career.
“I joined the Army in July 2011, right after I graduated high school,” said Jenkins. “I wanted to be a nurse, and I came upon the Army one day and someone told me about being a medic.”
Helping people is something that runs in her blood.
“My mom and grandma were both registered nurses and ever since I was younger that’s what I wanted to do,” said the 19-year-old Burlington, N.C., native. “I like helping people.”
Being an Army combat medic isn’t exactly the same as being a registered nurse, but for Jenkins it’s a first step.
“I’m taking online college classes to become an registered nurse,” said Jenkins.
Until then she’ll continue to gain real-world skills in the small aid station at FOB Shank.
“It’s rewarding when people come in here and they don’t feel good, or something doesn’t feel right, and you know the right questions to ask to figure out what’s wrong with them,” said Jenkins. “People come in here to see us and need help and it’s nice to help.”
As she works towards becoming an RN, Jenkins will continue to serve and care for her fellow soldiers.
“I serve because I like doing my job, I like being able to help people, in whatever way I can,” said Jenkins.
Back in the FOB Shank west aid station, a man had been escorted in bleeding from the top of his head. The cut turned out small and easy to fix, and after an hour of cleaning and stitching, the man with the head laceration walked out of the aid station.
“Our job is giving others the abilities to do their job, no one likes to go to work when they’re sick,” said Jenkins.