Fort Polk, La. –
The Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital’s education and staff development team hosted a tactical casualty care demonstration for Tony Kittrell, CEO, Advent Comics at the Joint Readiness Training Center's medical range on Aug. 13 at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Kittrell a paramedic and firefighter for the Prince George County, Maryland Fire Department for more than 25 years was in Vernon Parish for National Free Comic Book Day Aug. 14.
National Free Comic Book Day, established in 2002, is normally celebrated the first Saturday in May. According to freecomicbookday.com the event was postponed in 2021 due to disruptions related to COVID-19.
Advent Comics was established in 2009 and has comic books available on six continents and 34 countries around the world.
Kittrell said he wanted to spend time with the combat medics because his former lieutenant at the Prince George Fire Department was an Army veteran and former combat medic.
“He was always telling me stories about what they did and I’ve always been impressed by their abilities,” he said. “This demonstration illustrated some differences between civilian paramedics and the military. We assess our patients, put them in the ambulance and work on them as we are headed to the hospital. These medics assess and stabilize their patients before transportation arrives.”
Kittrell said his experience with the medics might inspire a new character in an upcoming Advent Comic.
Staff Sgt. Cameron Reeves, noncommissioned officer in charge of BJACH HESD admitted being a comic book fan and was excited to host Kittrell to demonstrate the capabilities of the combat medics at Fort Polk.
“I like comic books, Batman is my favorite,” he said. “I like Batman because although he doesn’t have any real powers, he is a real person who uses his wealth for good.”
Reeves said conducting the tactical casualty care demonstrations for civilian paramedics, like Kittrell, is an important way to illustrate the competencies of our combat medics.
“In combat we have the skills necessary to react and treat traumatic injuries,” he said. “What 68Ws do is crucial to Army medicine and readiness.”
Pfc. Megan Schindler, 190th Medical Detachment, 115th Field Hospital, 32nd Hospital Center, volunteered to do the demonstration for Kittrell because medicine is always changing and this was a good excuse to practice her skills.
“I just graduated from AIT six months ago and it’s a good drill for us to do combat casualty assessments whenever we have the opportunity,” she said. “The sound and smoke made this demonstration very realistic for me as I performed my duties. I hope Mr. Kittrell has a better understanding of what our jobs as medics in the Army is all about.”
Pfc. Steven Ndong, 115th FH, 32nd HC conducted the demonstration with Schindler.
“My goal is always be the best that I can be. I knew this was a good occasion to showcase what I can do in front of others and hopefully get some helpful feedback,” he said. “I think it’s important for our civilian counterparts to see what we do on a daily basis. It will allow them to see the difference between paramedics in a civilian versus a tactical environment.”
Ndong said his favorite comic is Asterix, a French series about Gaulish warriors who have adventures and fight the Roman Republic during the era of Julius Caesar.
The engagement with Kittrell drew combat medics from across the installation to discuss the difference between military and civilian first response, as well as, comic books.
Pfc. Kelton Edwards, 190th MD, 115th FH, 32nd HC, said he is a big fan of Superman.
“I like his background. He was raised by people who weren’t his biological parents but they still loved him as if he were their own,” he said. “I think it’s pretty cool that Kittrell has a character in his Regulators Series who represents real life first responders.”
Edwards said Kittrell's stories can give people interested in the medical field an idea of what it might be like.
“Comic books kind of give you a personal feel to what is going on in the story,” he said. “Between the imagery and the dialog the reader experiences what is actually going on in the fantasy.”
Spc. Tyler Crandall, 115th FH, 32nd HC, said he loves comic books and Daredevil is his favorite character.
“I took a liking to him because of his sensory amplification. He’s blind so no one suspects he’s Daredevil,” he said. “We are out here doing military training with a civilian counterpart which is beneficial because civilian paramedics deal with different emergencies than we do.”
Crandall said it’s good for Soldiers to interact with civilian paramedics because they can learn from one another and get a better understanding of what each does.
“In the end,” he said. “It’s all about saving lives.”
Jack Reed, healthcare training instructor for BJACH, is a retired medic and Army nurse. He said the Avengers are his favorite comic book characters.
“It is exciting to have Mr. Kittrell here. This is a great way to show someone what we actually do,” he said. “We wanted to make this experience as realistic as we could make it to give him a better understanding of what our medics are capable of on the battlefield.”
Reed said he hopes Kittrell has a good experience while he’s at Fort Polk.
Kittrell said his character Titan, the Ultraman, is based on his career as firefighter and a paramedic.
“Titan is a flawed person, he has some strikes against him, but he’s trying to be better. He is trying to be what the world needs him to be - a hero,” he said. “I blush when anyone calls me, as a firefighter, a hero, because these Soldiers are the real heroes. They are selflessly serving our whole country. That to me, is the most heroic thing I can think of.”