Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Order of Military Medical Merit presented to USU medical student

Image of Military personnel receiving the Order of Military Merit. Dr. Althea Green-Dixon, director of USU’s Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program and director of Recruitment for USU’s School of Medicine bestows the Order of Military Merit on Army 2nd Lt. Alex Villahermosa for his accomplishments while serving as a senior non-commissioned officer and medical sergeant (Photo by: Tom Balfour, USU).

Army 2nd Lt. Alex Villahermosa recently became the first Uniformed Services University medical student to ever receive the Order of the Military Medical Merit, or O2M3, presented by the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) for significant contributions to the regiment. A surprised and humbled Villahermosa was recognized for his achievements during a small ceremony at USU on Feb. 11.  

“I didn’t tell him that we were doing this today. I have been stringing him along for the last year and he had no idea that this was going to happen,” said Dr. Althea Green-Dixon, director of USU’s Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program (EMDP2) and director of Recruitment for USU’s School of Medicine.  

The O2M3 was founded in 1982 by the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Health Services Command to recognize excellence and promote esprit de corps among AMEDD personnel. Prior to coming to USU for medical school through the Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program, Villahermosa served for several years on active duty as an Army medic, demonstrating distinguished service and leadership in medical education in a variety of roles.  

Villahermosa was recognized for his contributions as a senior non-commissioned officer and medical sergeant. While serving with a medical operations unit, Villahermosa developed 21 advanced medical courses. He also wrote the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Advanced Tactical Paramedic exam, as well as Tactical Medicine Emergency Protocols. These training programs supported AMEDD missions worldwide, and have enhanced proficiency, trauma protocols, and technical rescue skills of medical personnel.  

Villahermosa also designed and served as the primary instructor for a unit-level medical indoctrination course and developed a Modular Articulating Splint, patented in 2014. The device has been used to immobilize limbs at other-than-straight configurations, such as the elbow and knee.

As a sergeant first class at the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, in Joint Pacific Command, Hawaii, Villahermosa deployed to Vietnam, Laos, Korea, Papua New Guinea, and Cambodia to uncover the remains of missing service members. He served as sole provider for more than 65 team members, and as the team’s senior medical representative, he also provided medical guidance to 43 team augmentees. While deployed to Papua New Guinea, he treated more than 200 pediatric patients suffering from Kwashiorkor Syndrome, a severe form of malnutrition. In doing so, he not only improved their quality of life, but also gained the trust of the locals. 

Military personnel wearing mask posing for a photo during an award ceremony Army 2nd Lt. Alex Villahermosa, (center) recently became the first USU medical student to receive the Order of the Military Medical Merit presented by the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) for significant contributions to the Regiment. He was recognized for this achievement during a small ceremony at USU on Feb. 11 (Photo by: Tom Balfour, USU)

Villahermosa was also lauded for his work as a Senior Medical Sergeant in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he helped plan and execute more than 150 combat operations, including direct action missions with partner Iraqi forces. He was also pivotal during Foreign Internal Defense training, which increased the Iraqi counterpart’s ability to conduct unilateral operations. He developed, coordinated, and taught a comprehensive course of instruction to develop Iraqi Police Special Weapons and Tactics medics in their combat medical capabilities and trauma response.

Green-Dixon presented the medal to Villahermosa, surrounded virtually and in person by a number of past O2M3 recipients, including retired Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Eric Schoomaker and USU President Emeritus Dr. Charles Rice.  

“Second lieutenant Villahermosa’s dedication to excellence has enabled world-class medical support to joint training and deployed operations,” said Green-Dixon, who nominated Villahermosa for “his dynamic leadership and medical acumen” that “contributed to increased mission readiness, as well as to the medical enterprise.” 

“Normally we would all be clustered behind you, file by and shake your hand.  We would all have a word of advice as we went by,” said Schoomaker, who joined virtually.  “I’m trying to think of the dozens, if not hundreds of O2M3s that I’ve been privileged to present this to award to, but I can’t think of another time that we’ve given this to a lieutenant or to an NCO below the rank of E-8 or possibly E-7, and that’s because it takes such a long time to make a substantial contribution to the AMEDD regiment and to the military family. In those occasions that you have this medallion on, I think people who are informed will see that you are a very special person, especially given your relative position within the hierarchy. You now have the opportunity throughout the remainder of your career to identify people and inspire them to make the contributions that you have, and to keep your eyes out for those people that you think are bound for the same honor someday. Be very aggressive about encouraging those people.”

“You are exactly the kind of officer that we had in mind when we launched the EMDP2 program,” said Rice. “You are a great example to others.  We are very, very proud of you and this is an honor that you richly deserve.”

“I had no idea that this was going to happen.  I’m kind of at a loss for words.  I’ve loved serving in the military and being in military medicine as an NCO and as a medical student about to graduate,” Villahermosa said.  “I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and that’s something I hope to pay forward for the rest of my career and maybe even after. Thank you.”

 

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Feb 23, 2024

Medical Soldiers Compete in the Medical Readiness Command Europe 2024 Best Leader Competition

The 2nd Place of the 2024 Medical Readiness Command, Europe Best Leader Competition, held Feb 6-9 at Baumholder Training Area, Germany, are pictured with U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Roger Giraud, commander of Medical Readiness Command, Europe. The grueling four-day competition was rigorous, relevant, and realistic. Activities included a physical fitness assessment, M4 and M17 weapons zero and qualification, and a 12-mile foot march. (Photo by Kirk Frady)

More than 30 medical soldiers from across Europe competed in the 2024 Medical Readiness Command, Europe Best Leader competition, Feb. 6-9, at Baumholder Training Area in Germany. Teams from each of Medical Readiness Command, Europe’s four direct reporting units competed for a chance to represent the command at the 2024 U.S. Army Medical Command Best ...

Article Around MHS
Feb 20, 2024

Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit Enhances Combat Effectiveness with Comprehensive Weapons and Threat Recognition Training

Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit Six member trains in weapons proficiency during a specialized course designed to enhance readiness for diverse deployments on Feb. 8, 2024. The training was tailored for the unit’s unique mission to ensure service members are prepared for their upcoming deployments. (U.S. Navy photo by Desmond Martin)

The Forward Deployable Preventative Medical Unit participated in a first-ever weapons and threat recognition training course, specifically designed and tailored for the unit’s unique mission. FDPMU’s are rapidly deployable and mobile units that support force health protection around the globe.

Article Around MHS
Feb 16, 2024

Newest Pacific Veterinary Treatment Facility Enhances Care, Strengthens Partnerships in Japan

Noncommissioned officer-in-charge, U.S. Navy Staff Sgt. Ryan Spach, examine military working dog Jutas from the Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo Kennels, Japan. Jutas made history as the very first patient at the newly opened Sasebo veterinary treatment facility following a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 18, 2024. (Courtesy Photo)

Despite intermittent downpours and cloudy skies, a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation filled the air as the Public Health Command-Pacific, Veterinary Readiness Activity, Japan and Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo leadership came together on January 18, 2024, to celebrate the opening of the newest veterinary treatment facility in the Pacific.

Topic
Feb 8, 2024

Health Readiness & Combat Support

The Defense Health Agency provides support for operating forces engaged in planning for, or conducting, military operations, including support during conflict or in the conduct of other military activities related to countering threats to U.S. national security. Among DHA’s most important combat support responsibilities is its work to increase ...

Article
Jan 19, 2024

Military Health System Stabilization: Rebuilding Health Care Access is ‘Critical to the Wellbeing of our Patients’

U.S. Army Col. (Dr.) Frank Valentin, chief of ophthalmology, checks a patient for double vision and convergence at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Recruiting qualified health care providers across the MHS is the first step in the stabilization of MHS, aligning with the MHS Strategy.  (U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards)

On Dec. 6, 2023, the Deputy Secretary of Defense signed a memo directing the stabilization of the MHS, adding the capacity to reattract beneficiaries, improve access to care in military hospitals and clinics, and increase opportunities to sustain military clinical readiness for our medical forces.

Article Around MHS
Jan 16, 2024

Yokota Sustains 24/7 Air Medical Transport

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeovany Vasquez, 374th Operational Support Squadron, UH-1N Huey instructor flight engineer surveys a landing zone during a patient transport drill. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Manuel G. Zamora)

The 459th Airlift Squadron performed a trial run of a new readiness posture for medical transport on Dec. 18, aiming to offer 24/7 airlift support, streamlining the patient transfers from the 374th Medical Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, to other medical facilities in the region.

Article Around MHS
Jan 12, 2024

What Care at Sea Looks Like

U.S. Navy Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Louis Mountain receives his flu shot from U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Stevie Shavers, from Ravenswood, W.Va., aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, on Oct. 27, 2023. A ship’s medical department is vital to keeping the entire crew healthy and safe during deployments. (Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jahred Johnson)

A ship’s medical department is a complicated, interwoven group of people with different responsibilities dedicated to the health and well-being of the crew. Ranging from the ship’s nurse to the enlisted corpsman, everyone has a purpose and a mission to complete.

Article Around MHS
Jan 10, 2024

Charting a Course of Compassionate Care in the Blue Pacific

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Zea, a deployed health services technician, observes operations aboard the USCGC Myrtle Hazard in the Coral Sea off Papua New Guinea on Aug. 25, 2023, during a 46-day expeditionary patrol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir)

In the vast oceanic stretches of the U.S. Coast Guard's 14th District and the Blue Pacific, skilled medical personnel like U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Zea on fast response cutters, especially during expeditionary patrols, is not just a necessity; it's a lifeline.

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery