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Military Medicine



bulletAbout Military Medicine
bulletServing in Rwanda
bulletSymbols of Military Medicine
bulletSome useful Military Medicine Links
bulletUnited Nations Links

About Military Medicine

Military medicine is finally coming into its own as a specialised area of medicine in Australia. Although much of what we do in peacetime is similar to civilian clinical practice, there are specialised areas of knowledge and skill required that set us apart. Areas such as sports medicine, underwater medicine, occupational medicine, battlefield trauma and my own areas of expertise, aviation medicine and aeromedical evacuation, are all part of the military medical officers practice. 

Of course it is on operations, both within Australia and overseas, that this expertise really comes into play and although we rarely are called upon to go to war the Australian wpe1.jpg (83776 bytes) Defence Force Health Services have played a big role in humanitarian operations in recent years. These opportunities to put our skills and training into practice have come not only on UN  and other peace keeping missions to Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Bougainville and East Timor but also in response to civilian tragedy such as the Tsunami in PNG and most recently the Bali Bombings. In addition, ADF health personnel have deployed into the field both in aboriginal communities in our own country and to other Pacific Islands to offer a range of services not usually available to the local population. In other words our personnel who have trained for war have helped out wherever help is needed. This is what makes being a practitioner of military medicine so rewarding.

Serving in Rwanda

Kibeho.jpg (123189 bytes)For me, the highlight of my military medical career was without doubt the time I spent in Rwanda as part of the Second Australian Contingent to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) from Feb to Aug 1995. 

The experiences in Rwanda changed my life in many ways. It also changed the lives of many others who served both with me and with the first Australian Contingent. Many of my colleagues are still having problems coming to terms with some of our experiences there. For more information about our service, please check out my Rwanda Peacekeepers Website.

Baby's smile.jpg (117103 bytes) I  actually wrote a diary during the deployment and one day I might even get around to doing something about publishing it so that people might begin to understand what it was like. 


Each UN mission has a special medal created. The UNAMIR medal ribbon consists of four colours - red for the soil (and perhaps the blood of the genocide), green for the vegetation, black for the volcanoes and gorillas and the UN blue. On the back of this and other Peace keeping medals it simply says 'In the Service of Peace'

Photo courtesy of UN website

You can read more about the UNAMIR mission and also about the country at my Rwanda Peacekeepers Website or at the links below. 

I have now added to my UN experience by serving in East Timor as Chief Health Officer in Peacekeeping Headquarters for both the UNTAET and UNMISET missions. My East Timor website is coming soon!

Symbols of Military Medicine

The caduceus (pictured in the first paragraph, above) is a universal symbol of medicine and especially military medicine. We call the emblem we use in the RAAF (pictured) a 'caduceus' however as you can see it has one snake instead of two. I tell people this is because Aussie snakes are more lethal and therefore it only takes one to do the job! Therefore our symbol is actually more a combination of the caduceus and the rod of Aesculapius. If you're confused so am I, however this website, on the symbols of medicine, helps to explain what the symbols really mean.

Some Useful Military Medicine Links

Australian Sites


Australian Military Medical Association 

Health Intel


Well diggers site - is the ultimate medical/health intelligence site. Use it to plan your next deployment - or even vacation!




CDC Travel Health

US Military Sites


USN Virtual Hospital (superb medical site!)


USAF Health Profession online journal


Naval Operational Medical Institute (USN)


Association of Military Surgeons United States (AMSUS) - the US version of AMMA...only a bit bigger.

General Medical Links


Doctors Guide to the Internet


National Library of Medicine


United Nations Links

bulletUN site
bulletUnited Nations Peacekeeping
bullet UNAMIR
bulletAustralian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association

And don't forget to read my dedication to the Mother of Military Medicine, Xena Warrior Princess!

This Military Medicine site is owned by Warriordoc.

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