"I'm here to do a job"

The engine rumbles into life and the doors close with a loud slam. The command "Anyone not ready" is yelled out. Silence. The heavy terrain vehicle rolls forward.

I want to help people. This is the reason for combat medical technician and soldier Alexander Mänd's career choice. Photo: Ronnie Hammar/Swedish Armed Forces

In the vehicle, standing in the turret with a machine gun ready, is medic Alexander Mänd. Together with his group, he is responsible for taking care of wounded comrades who have been transported away from the combat zone. The vehicle, more specifically an RG32 Armoured Vehicle, commonly known as a 'Galt', is a large, heavy, armoured Jeep. When the back door is opened, this can be used as a temporary ambulance stretcher. We are on our way towards a location where a wounded person will receive attention from Alexander.

When Alexander and his group comes up to the patient, they first evaluate the situation on the whole. The pulse is checked very simply and Alexander speaks calmly with the patient, asking various diagnostic questions to confirm the current diagnosis. He asks one of his colleagues to plug the patients's wound, quite simply to stop the ongoing bleeding. A short while later, the transportation of the wounded begins. The exercise is interrupted.

Becoming a combat medical technician was quite natural for Alexander.

"I want to help people. Initially I wanted to become a fire fighter but this was simply much better," says Alexander.

Takes care of the wounded.

The medical care system they work in is adapted to the Nordic Battlegroup, the EU's rapid deployment force. In basic terms, the wounded are taken care of by combat medical technicians in the combat zone, then carried away quickly back to Alexander and his colleagues who verify and reinforce the initial measures taken. They then meet with a helicopter and a doctor and nurse in the most appropriate location to then quickly continue on to a hospital. Within the Nordic Battlegroup, Finland is responsible for the medical helicopter and its personnel.

Alexander started working at the 7th Light Infantry Battalion in 2012 after an almost two-year break from the life of a soldier as a conscript in 2010.

"I just really missed it and it's fun to be outside and not sitting and working inside," explains Alexander.

Alexander and his combat medical technician colleagues have completed a 24-week training programme in Karlsborg with which they are very satisfied. Aside from a theoretical section, it includes a three week internment at a hospital and three weeks in an ambulance.

"I've always been interested in going on a mission. That's why we're here," says Alexander at the end of the interview.