While in the field, he wears a pair of trauma scissors tucked into his Army vest. The blue handles pop with color against the faded green and brown camouflage of his uniform. They’re within easy reach in case of an emergency.
“Every Soldier should carry (them) whether you’re medical or not,” said Lt. Col. Louis DiBernardo, a U.S. Army Reserve doctor, while training at Fort Hunter Liggett, California.
“You never know when you’re going to need them to expose an injured area … When there’s an incident, we jump on it as immediately as we can,” said DiBernardo, who is the lead surgeon for the 11th Military Police Brigade.
In the dry heat of Fort Hunter Liggett, DiBernardo didn’t have the comfy amenities most civilian doctors enjoy at a hospital. He was on constant call in the field working out of a van or a tent in 100-degree temperatures, responded to several real-world emergencies (including a tent collapse and a vehicle that crashed into a ditch), while treating Soldiers for routine medical needs and helping medical units with resupply runs.
“We’re still Soldiers first,” said DiBernardo of himself and his fellow Army medical professionals. “You might not experience that as much in a hospital, but in the field, that’s quite different because you have that intimate experience of embracing the suck together. We wear the same uniform and bleed the same color. When you remove that white lab coat barrier, it shows everyone else that we are on equal terms. A Soldier is a Soldier as any other.”