FORT BARFOOT, Va. – Members of the Virginia Defense Force assigned to the Medical Services Section, Support Operations Group assisted with instruction at the Virginia Army National Guard 68W combat medic recertification course Aug. 5-10, 2023, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. “VDF support was helpful by bringing two experienced providers to the 68W sustainment course,” said Capt. Matthew Graupman, a physician’s assistant assigned the Virginia Army National Guard Medical Command and officer in charge of the course. “They have years of medical knowledge in treating disorders and disease processes that many medics will encounter in their military career. It was an added benefit to have an emergency room physician available to discuss many of the medical treatments that these medics will need to initiate in the field or garrison setting. “ Graupman said there was also a benefit in having psychiatry-based provider from the VDF in this course, and it allowed for fruitful discussions on current treatments for common mental health conditions. Capt. (Va.) David Kruse, an emergency physician, provided a lecture on management of labor and delivery including some common complications and management of the newborn after delivery. Additionally he provided hands on demonstrations on the examination of the head, ears, eyes, nose and throat to small groups of Guard medical personnel. Maj. (Va.) Bryan Graham, a family medical and psychiatric nurse practitioner, prepared and delivered lectures on suicide prevention, behavioral health and post traumatic stress disorder “The Virginia Army National Guard organized tough, realistic training for the recertification done to Army standards,” Graham said. “I view the actual results of VDF support for 68W recertification training as completely positive.” He said the factors contributing to VDF success during this operation were the Guard’s willingness to provide the VDF with the opportunity to provide support, the OIC CPT Graupman’s experience in running this event and the professional credentials, experience and dedication of the VDF members involved. Graham said they plan to sustain VDF availability to assist with 68W recertification training, and they have kept the instructional resources for future use. He also said the goal was to demonstrate to the VaARNG that VDF Medical Services are a dependable, professional organization willing and able to be their partner in training. VaARNG Medical Command leaders indicated they plan to continue to invite VDF to support future training courses. More than 20 Virginia National Guard Soldiers from across the commonwealth conducted their 68W combat medic certification during refresher training. The medics completed classroom and practical training, including two medical and two trauma scenarios, challenging the Soldiers’ knowledge and skill in their job field. The Fort Barfoot-based VNG Medical Command hosted the course, which combat medics must take once every two years to retain their current combat medic status. In addition to medical service, the VDF’s Support Operations Group also provides chaplain and legal support as well as training support. VDF Chaplain Services conducted services at Fort Barfoot through the summer and also fills other gaps the Virginia Army National Guard identifies, including pastoral counselling. VDF Legal Services include legal preparedness classes, preparation of wills and powers of attorney as well as limited personal legal advice.