Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “military medicine”

Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Physical Therapy Guide (2010)

Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Physical Therapy Guide (2010) – https://web.archive.org/web/20101217144152/http://www.armymedicine.army.mil/prr/PT_BCT_Guide.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What sorts of supplies should a BCT physical therapist have with him in the field?
  • What’s the surprising source of most Army injuries requiring physical therapy?
  • What factors are involved in deciding where to send a BCT physical therapist?
  • What is a Y Balance Screen and when should it be performed?


This is a 54 page guide whose purpose, according to the introduction, “a. Establishes policies for physical therapists assigned to Brigade Combat Teams and b. Defines physical therapy roles, responsibilities and services within the BCT.”

The guide offered statistics on injuries requiring physical therapy that surprised me:

In a deployed setting, musculoskeletal non-battle injuries account for 87% of all injuries. The rate of non-combat related musculoskeletal injuries are estimated to occur 6.5-7 times more frequently than combat related injuries. Over 75% of all medical evacuations from the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) theater of operations were due to non-combat musculoskeletal injuries associated with back, knee, foot/ankle, shoulder, hand/wrist, and neck pain. The typical Soldier medically evacuated from the OIF/OEF Theater was a 29 year old Soldier in need of additional musculoskeletal care, resulting in a negative impact on operational capabilities.5 The primary focus of physical therapy services in the brigade combat team is to enhance unit readiness and physical performance through injury prevention, human performance optimization and timely rehabilitation.

The guide’s appendices provide examples of tests such as the “functional movement screen test” that are used to determine the extent of injury.

The guide appears to have been removed from the Army Medicine website, probably around the time the Publications section itself went away. But it lives on at the Internet Archive and elsewhere on the web.


Army Medicine

Army Medicine – http://armymedicine.mil/pages/home.aspx

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What is the Army doing to curb smoking?
  • How does the Army handle altitude acclimatization and illness management?
  • What measures does the Army take against Malaria?


“Bringing value …Inspiring Trust” – The Army Medicine site is the official website for the Army Medical department.

Most of the site will be of interest, but I think the best things for writers are in the News & Information section (videos and reports are under “public affairs”:

  • Mercury—Army Medicine’s Newspaper
  • Videos – Videos aimed at soldiers on various health issues.
  • Reports – Selected full text reports including pain management findings and investigation of possible epidemic of homicides at an Army base.
  • Publications – Links to technical bulletins. (This section seems to have been removed from the site since I first annotated Army Medicine. Thanks to the Internet Archive, you can view a 2012 copy.

The publications section has an interesting lesson for writers and other researchers – Don’t take everything on web pages at face value. The Publications page says in part:

Textbook of Military Medicine (series) – Military medical personnel may contact the Borden Institute at (202) 782-4329, DSN 662-4329, or FAX (202) 782-7555 to obtain copies of these publications. The public may purchase this series from the Government Printing Office (GPO); GPO contact information is shown in the next paragraph.

This is accurate, as far as it goes. But I thought the series would make a great resource for this book and so I went to my favorite search engine and used “Textbook of Military Medicine.” The first hit was from the Borden Institute and led to a series introduction. Then I noticed “published volumes” in the page’s left hand column. Clicking on that led to PDF copies of the entire series. Why didn’t Army Medicine let us know this series was available electronically? I don’t know. But what I do know and what you should also know is that if you come across an interesting title that a page implies is paper only, it’s worth it to try finding an electronic copy somewhere else. If you prefer paper but can only find PDFs, it’s worth it to go to WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org) to see if you can get a paper copy from your library.

Air Force Medical Service

Air Force Medical Service – http://www.afms.af.mil/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What is a day in the life of an Air Force Dentist like?
  • What areas does the Air Force to be part of family practice?
  • Where can I find an Air Force Medical Facility?


“Trusted Care Anywhere” is the motto of the Air Force Medical Service and this is its primary website.

Of the various sections of the Air Force Medical Service, the following may be of the most interest to writers:

  • Organizations – Links to Air Force hospitals and other AF medical facilities.
  • Library – Has short summaries of key Air Force Medical history and links to civilian health resources. Also list terms of current and past Air Force Surgeon Generals.
  • Art – Two pages worth of Air Force Medical Service Logos
  • Careers – A link to the health care section of Air Force Careers. Great for sketching out the education and training backgrounds of your Air Force Characters.

Navy medicine in Vietnam: Passage to Freedom to the fall of Saigon

Herman, Jan K. 2010. Navy medicine in Vietnam: Passage to Freedom to the fall of Saigon. Washington, DC: Naval History & Heritage Command, Dept. of the Navy.

(Paper – http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/458583716)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What was life about a hospital ship like?
  • How did American doctors and nurses interact with ordinary Vietnamese?
  • What was it like to have to triage dozens of wounded soldiers?
  • What was the life of a medical corpsman like?
  • Why would you toss a perfectly good Huey helicopter into the sea?


This 50 page book documents the US Navy’s medical experience during its time in Vietnam from the somewhat quiet beginnings in 1954 to the mad evacuation of Saigon in 1975. Medical environments from the fox hole to major hospitals are covered in story and with photographs. A list of suggested readings appears on page 50. All of the graphics are acceptable for all ages. Some of the personal accounts are harrowing.


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