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Barnestormer medic boosts moral, gains experience

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hanna Smith and Senior Airman Camille Leinau
  • 104th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HONOLULU, HI, -- Tech. Sgt. Paul Ljubicic, 104th aerospace medical technician has been with the 104th medical group for nearly nine years and is always striving to learn and build camaraderie.

“I have been with the 104MDG since the start of my enlistment,” said Ljubicic. “I had a desire to be in the military since I was in high school but life always seemed to get in the way. Working in the medical career field allowed me to follow my passion for helping others.”

Aerospace medical technicians may work on ground or in the air, managing the care of patients and organizing training for personnel.

“As a medic my day to day is varied,” Ljubicic said. “I could complete audiograms, assist in training, perform lab draws, or many other tasks. Drill weekends are always busy whether it is mentoring junior enlisted or teaching an EKG class.”

Recently, Ljubicic had the opportunity to participate in training at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii from April 25-May 4, 2022. Working in areas of the hospital such as labor and delivery and the emergency department allowed Ljubicic to gain new skills and learn from army medics and doctors.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to learn and experience things that I would not get to do back at home station,” said Ljubicic. “I get to work directly with many patients and provide them with the best care.”

During the training at TAMC, Ljubicic worked long 12-hour shifts alongside the other medical technicians from the 104FW. It was hard work, and he enjoyed learning from the Army combat medic specialists who have experience working downrange.

Lt. Col Anna Barrows, 104MDG chief nurse, planned scheduling and oversaw Ljubicic and the other medical technicians work while at TAMC.

“In order for us to be standing and ready to answer our nation’s call, we have to ensure that we have our skills to par,” said Barrows. “Some of these members may not be performing the same duties on the outside in the civilian world as they do in the Air National Guard so this type of training is critical. Overall, it is rewarding for leadership to get to see our members working at TAMC, to see their excitement and attachment to accomplishing their training and working with patients”

At the end of the two-week training at TAMC, Ljubicic coordinated with the Army UH-60 Black Hawk pilots from Wheeler Army Airfield to arrange a morale flight for the 104MDG Airmen.

“Ljubicic took the lead and 21 Airmen got to experience a once in a lifetime Blackhawk mission around the beautiful state of Hawaii,” said Master Sgt. Michael Hoar, 104 Fighter Wing first sergeant.

Being a part of the 104FW for nearly 9 years, Ljubicic has seen the medical group grow and change with new Airmen and leadership moving the unit forward.

“The experience I appreciate the most about being a part of the medical group is watching us grow as a unit, '' Ljubicic said. “The cohesion of multiple backgrounds working as a team to accomplish a goal and saving a patient’s life.”

Ljubicic’s advice to new Airmen is to always ask questions, listen, absorb and be humble.