When Dayton native Steed Benson graduated from Meadowdale High School in 1997, he headed to the Navy.
“I’d signed on before graduation; after taking the tests and being told what jobs I qualified for and what was available, I almost walked out – until the recruiter told me about the medical corps,” said Benson, 33. “That sounded interesting and opened up more possibilities for me, so I joined.”
During his five years of active duty, Benson spent 2001-02 in Afghanistan: “I was a flight medic there, and would pick up injured troops and take them to medical facilities.”
When he completed his five-year service stint, he joined the Navy Reserves less than 24 hours after he was transferred out.
“I did clinical work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base Hospital from 2003-2009, and was sent to Kuwait in 2004 and again in 2008 in support of the Iraq mission,” he said.
He’s also been to Japan, Korea, Australia, Africa and Spain for a variety of short-term operations. “On these operations, some with NATO, we go to temporary military or civilian bases for a few weeks.”
Benson, who now lives in Kettering with his wife, Sherrie, and four daughters ages 7 to 13, says the path he chose is very diverse and encompasses most services of an EMT, LPN, and even a dental technician.
“I’m sort of a jack of all medical trades – I’ve done recovery, urgent care in remote locations, emergency services, and the off-loading, on-loading and delivery of cargo and equipment,” he said.
While in the reserves, Benson earned a bachelors degree in health care management, and now works at the Veterans Administration Hospital in medical administration, primarily in the diabetes clinic.
His full title now is HMC (EXW) – Chief Hospital Corpsman, Expeditionary Warfare Specialist for the Bravo Company Reserve unit out of Cincinnati.
In March, he’ll be deployed to Afghanistan or Kuwait.
“Kuwait is the enter-exit point for Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’ll be with a cargo unit,” he said. “I won’t be on the front line, but will provide transport and equipment. The worst part is being away from my family and knowing they’re worried when I’m deployed.”