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Special Forces 18D Medic MSG(R) Sam Rodriguez on the Evolution & Challenges of Special Ops Medicine

The world of Special Operations Medics and Tactical Combat Casualty Care is a fascinating one, filled with rigorous training, crucial qualifications, and an ever-evolving landscape. Retired Army Master Sergeant Sam Rodriguez joined WarDocs- The Military Medicine podcast to share his experiences and insights into this unique field. With his expertise, listeners better understand the challenges and initiatives faced by Special Operations Medics and how the Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) has brought improvements and innovations to battlefield care.


Starting as a 19 Delta Cavalry Scout, MSG(R) Rodriguez later transitioned into an 18D Special Operations Medic. His journey through the military saw him serve as an instructor at the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and as a Senior Enlisted Advisor for the United States Army Special Operations Command. Sam emphasized the importance of being both physically and mentally prepared for the world of Special Operations medicine.


Throughout his career, MSG(R) Rodriguez has encountered various medical scenarios, from humanitarian missions in remote areas of the Amazon basin to teaching Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) in response to lessons learned from events in Somalia. The evolution of medical equipment and technology has played a significant role in advancing the capabilities of Special Operations medics, with items such as dedicated tourniquets now being standard.


SOMA, officially formed in 1992, has been instrumental in advancing the science, technology, knowledge, and skills of unconventional medicine. Its main mission is to ensure the survivability and speed of recovery of Special Operations personnel through advancements in technology and knowledge. Over the years, SOMA has tackled various challenges and initiatives, such as the delivery of blood products on the battlefield and addressing the issue of traumatic brain injuries.



One of the most significant challenges faced by Special Operations medics is planning for medical care in extreme situations. This includes carrying the necessary medical supplies and being prepared to perform a range of life-saving procedures, such as cricothyroidotomies, chest tube insertions, and blood transfusions. Rodriguez highlights the importance of coordinating with higher headquarters and ensuring that teams are equipped with the necessary resources and knowledge to carry out their mission effectively.





In addition to his work with SOMA, Rodriguez is also a veteran outreach and program coordinator for the Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans (THRIVE) program. This organization aims to improve the quality of life for veterans and first responders who have experienced trauma, emphasizing the importance of preserving the well-being of service members who have given so much.


As technology and knowledge continue to advance in the field of military medicine, the survivability and recovery of Special Operations personnel will undoubtedly improve. With experts like MSG(R) Sam Rodriguez sharing their experiences and insights, we can better understand the vital role that unconventional medicine plays in Special Operations and the importance of continued innovation and dedication to this unique field.


The MSG(R) Rodriguez interview is available on all major podcast platforms. Here are some popular links that will bring you directly to the episode:


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WarDocs- The Military Medicine Podcast is a Non-Profit, Tax-exempt-501(c)(3) Veteran Run Organization. All donations are tax-deductible and go to honoring and preserving the history, experiences, successes, and lessons learned in military medicine.

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WARDOCS documents the experiences, contributions, and innovations of all military medicine Services, ranks, and Corps (affectionately called "Doc"—an earned title of respect, trust, and confidence) who are dedicated to the medical care of our fellow comrades-in-arms (both on and off the battlefield), our Wounded Warriors and our military Families.



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