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SWAT Paramedic/ USN Hospital Corpsman

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Good evening,

I'm currently a 25-year-old Active Duty United States Navy Hospital Corpsman attached to a Marine Infantry Unit in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

I'm in search of information about being a SWAT Paramedic, the road to reach it and possibly a job/career in California.

A little bit about myself. I've been in the service for 5 years now and I'm at my 17 month mark of getting out of the Naval Service. I've worked in Labor and Delivery for 13 months, Intensive Care Unit for 14 months in Washington State. Summer of 2010, I deployed to Pacific Partnership on USNS Mercy for Humanitarian Missions to Indonesia, Cambodia, Timor Leste, and Philippines working in the ICU/PACU and providing medical coverage and assistance to local villages, schools, and hospitals in the foreign countries I've listed.

2011, I decided to become a Field Medic with a Marine Division located on Oahu, HI. Deployed to OEF Afghanistan from April-November attached with a group of 13 Marines and myself to rely on each other every single day. This OEF tour definitely opened my eyes that I had an interest in working in a combat setting in the future. Unfortunately for me, fortunately for America, we're pulling out of Afghanistan and USMC is returning to their Amphibious roots. Therefore, no more combat deployments.

My current qualifications as of right now:

Associates in Applied Science

EMT-I (expired license)

Basic Life Support Instructor

Combat Life Support Instructor

ACLS Qual'd

NRP Qual'd

PALS Qual'd

Tactical Combat Casualty Care Qual'd, I renew this every 6 months to just to keep it fresh

OEMS (Pig Lab) Qual'd

Los Angeles Trauma Center 3 week course (Excellent experience!)

Weapons Qualifications:






As of right now, I'm obviously at a fork in my life and it's time to get out of the service. I'm mentally burned out from it all and the BS that comes along with it on a daily basis.

My plan(s):

Attend Mt. SAC/EMSTA College in Southern California to complete Paramedic school. Looking for a potential expedited program of 6 months, if they even exist by using the Post 911 GI Bill.

Afterwards, I was looking at Police Academy program. My question about this is: May I jump straight to a SWAT team? Or, do I need years of field experience and patrols?

My other plan is if I'm unable to jump straight into a SWAT team, there's plenty of hiring contractor jobs (Academi, Aegis, Triple Canopy) in Afghanistan and Iraq and just work 6-8 months out of the year. Unfortunately, once again, the United States is pulling out of these countries and there wouldn't be any air support from NATO Forces. Would I rely on the Iraqis and Afghans to help me with my medevacs on the ground? Not a chance.

There you have it. It's cut and dry but I'd really like to get the positive and negative opinions and advice from anybody out there.

Thank you for reading my post and Happy Holidays!



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I guess that the primary question that comes to mind:

Are wanting to go forward in your young life with a medical related position or a "combat" related position?

do you want to be a cop or a medic?

What is spinning your wheels right now?

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You will need paramedic credentials and often, many SWAT/SRT medics are also qualified officers. Your status as a veteran my be helpful for getting a foot in the door; however, you should not expect to go directly into a medic position with a SWAT/SRT team. Likely, you will have to put in time as an officer and make it into the team. Also remember, much of the medic's job revolves around tedious and less glamorous jobs such as keeping up on the team medical records and immunisations and developing medical SOP's and training.

Overseas work is a different animal and will vary according to your job, the company and your location. In fact, I never did any cool guy shoot outs and didn't really carry a weapon when I was a contractor and I was outside of "the wire" quite often. My wife is a contractor currently and she's not doing the "I'm cooler than you" contractor gig either. Make sure you have realistic expectations of the job and regarding air support and such, as a private or civi contractor, Uncle Sam or any other Nation's military doesn't owe you anything.

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I agree that you have to sort out what you want your full time job to be. I'm not in tactical medicine but have a lot of EMS experience, and my sense is that the vast majority of of people who do tactical medicine don't do it as a full time job. They are either full time medics who respond to call out with their SWAT teams, or they are full time police officers who have additional medical training. The big police departments have full time SWAT teams but most people who do SWAT are not in NYC or LA.

The best place to start would be to figure out a few cities you would think about living in and search online for info on SWAT, the then contact the departments directly. They usually have someone in charge of recruiting.

LAPD: http://www.lapdonline.org/join_the_team/content_basic_view/9125

LA Sheriff: http://www.lasdhq.org/recruitment/index-DST-POST.html

You might also want to contact groups that do civilian tactical medical training and ask them for ideas how to get into SWAT:


Hope that helps.

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You'll have to put in your time before you can try out for SWAT. SWAT is a high risk endeavor for police departments/officers/chiefs, and whether you are a sworn officer or not in addition to being a paramedic, you will have to have proven yourself in the street over a few years. The team wants to make sure they are getting someone who makes good calls under pressure, and the only way to demonstrate that is through field experience. Our SWAT medics (they are not sworn) have a minimum of 5 years full time EMS field experience, and most have 10 or more years. For an officer getting on the team, you will have to have put in several years (3-5 years is a common minimum, but it varies by department) on patrol.

Thank you for your service to our nation. At this time of Thanksgiving, I hold dear the sacrifices that those, like you, in uniform have made to ensure our freedom and security.


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