Justin Peterson: Future US Army Combat Medic


Peterson (bottom front) and other future soldiers at the Rough Riders Ice Arena attending an event for Veterans Day, 2018

Senior Justin Peterson made the decision to officially enlist in the US Army on October 12, 2018. Although it wasn’t originally apart of his plan, he eventually chose to enlist after realizing the experience would provide him with important skills and help him financially as he furthers his education.

It only took a couple of weeks to make his final decision, but it wasn’t easy. As Peterson continues to train and prepare, he realizes he will be away from his friends and family and will be missing out on the typical graduate experience.

“You see all your friends talking about how they are going to go to college and live in the dorms and have fun and do things that most young people do and then knowing that you’re going to be in a completely different situation where you aren’t necessarily in control,” Peterson said.

Gaining experience in the emergency medical field is a key part of Peterson’s time there, but gaining leadership skills is also important to him.

“I’m already becoming very aware that I’m going to gain a lot from my experience, leadership is a huge one. Even right now in my training when we get together to do physical training, I’ve taken some leadership within our group and that goes a long way,” Peterson said.

As a current Kirkwood EMT member and a passion for emergency medicine, Peterson decided to spend his time in the forces as a combat medic, where he will take on the responsibility of providing first aid and trauma care to those who have been injured on the battlefield.

Peterson understands that it will be both mentally and physically challenging, but with the support of his family and a belief in himself, he is confident with his decision.

“A lot of people ask me if I have a fear for my physical safety, but I don’t really think about that,” Peterson said, “Personally, especially with my background and interest in emergency medicines, what reassures me and makes me feel safe is knowing that I’m there for someone else. I feel confident and I feel good when I know that other people are relying on me and that I can protect others.”