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News | May 9, 2024

Vermont Army National Guardsman Achieves Military Medical Merit

By Sgt. Denis Nunez

Col. Michael Korczykowski, Commander of the Medical Detachment, Vermont National Guard, recently received the esteemed Order of Military Medical Merit. This prestigious award recognizes excellence and promotes fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department (AMEDD) personnel.

The Order of Military Medical Merit is a distinguished honor that denotes outstanding service within the Army Medical Department. It is one of the highest achievements medical personnel can attain, recognized by senior AMEDD leadership.

Col. Korczykowski’s receipt of this award highlights his exceptional dedication and contributions to the medical field and the units with which he has served. Col Korczykowski graduated from the Inter-service Physician Assistant Program in December of 2005 and has been an Army PA for roughly 19 years. He has held multiple duty positions over his time as a PA. He was a paratrooper in Alaska with the 1-40th CAV, a CBRNE treatment PA with the 15th Civil Support Team, and he has had multiple medical commands for the VTARNG.

Col. Korczykowski received the award on March 20, 2024, marking a significant milestone in his illustrious career. Initially entering the US Army as an infantry officer, he found his way into medicine with a desire to push his career further.

Reflecting on his journey, Col. Korczykowski shared, "My path was to get a B.S. in Biology at Northeastern University. After college, I wondered what I wanted to do. I went to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and took it from there. I attended the active-duty infantry tack of basic training, OCS, IOBC, Airborne and Ranger School, four years as an infantry officer, and I was up in Alaska from 2001 to 2003 as holding rifle platoon, company XO, and scout/sniper platoon leader positions. I got in to the Inter-service Physician Assistant program in January 2004, and made my way back to Alaska afterwards."

He continued, "I took advantage of the ‘enlist to become an officer’ program back in 2000. After roughly 10 years in the Active component, I joined the Vermont National Guard to take an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) position and get into the Civil Support Team (CST) Physician Assistant slot. I did that for many years, then moved on to command C Med, 186th BSB, and I’m currently the VTARNG Medical Detachment Commander and Deputy State Surgeon(clinical). I’ve also had the privilege of performing the Aeromedical PA duties for the State to keep our flight crews in the air."

Having deployed multiple times as an Army PA, Col. Korczykowski's journey is a testament to his commitment, resilience, and leadership within the Army Medical Department. “Even though I loved being an Infantry Officer, I always wanted to be in the medical field eventually. The Inter-service Physician Assistant Program was an awesome way to both continue to serve, and have the Army pay for my advanced degree. The amount of autonomy that Army PAs get is unparalleled in the civilian component. When I talk to my civilian PA buddies, they are routinely blown away by the number of experiences that I was able to have that the non-military world simply cannot replicate.” His achievements with multiple commands and dedication to his profession have rightfully earned him this distinguished recognition.

Col. Korczykowski attributes his success to the nonstop training that Army PAs can take advantage of. “Not only is there the ability to get better as an officer in general with schools like the Command and General Staff College, but the myriad different trauma trainings and continuing medical education courses available only increase your skill set throughout the years.” He continues to stay abreast of the changing landscape of the military and military medicine completing 18 different medical certificate courses, 5 Incident Command courses in the Defense Support of Civilian Authorities arena, and he is a co-author of a chapter in the "US Army Physician Assistant Handbook, Second Edition." The opportunities he has had over his career would not have been possible if not for the Army’s focus on continued professional development.

Continuing he remarked, “I’ve always said that the U.S. Army is a great equalizer for people of any status in our country.  It doesn’t matter what your background is, the Army is a vehicle to succeed in life as it not only builds and develops interpersonal skills and drive, but also supplies top notch training internally and gives you the tools to pay for further education.  Investing in your personal education early in life pays enormous dividends both professionally and financially.  I like to think that I have definitely leveraged all of that into a decently successful career.”

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