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Life As An Army Medic In Afghanistan

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Courtesy of Jessica Beswick
Jessica Beswick served as a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard from 2002-2012. Beswick spent a year in Iraq from 2005-2006 with the 134th Medical Company out of Washington and then a deployment to Afghanistan with the 2/34th Brigade (C Co, 334 BSB) from 2010-2011.

After graduating from high school in the spring of 2001, Dewitt native Jessica Beswick enrolled at the University of Iowa. The plan was to major in engineering; however, three weeks into her freshman year the terrorist attacks on September 11, shocked the nation.

"You don’t join the Army after 9/11 for school money. You know you’re going to war."

“I think for a lot of people across the country it [the terrorist attacks] distilled what’s important to you,” said Beswick.

After finishing her first year of college, Beswick then decided to speak to a recruiter with the Iowa Army National Guard. Going into that first meeting, Beswick only wanted to learn about the opportunities available and did not have her heart set on enlisting.

“The benefits that they provided, you know, money for school, things like that, were all bonuses. But, you don’t join the Army after 9/11 for school money. You know you’re going to war,” added Beswick.

Beswick enlisted and decided to be a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard. Her first deployment was to Iraq from 2005-2006 as part of the 134th Medical Company out of Washington. They primarily provided medical transportation. Then, from 2010-2011 Beswick was deployed to Afghanistan serving in the 2/34th Brigade.

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Jessica Beswick poses with Santa Clause during her deployment in Afghanistan.

Kicking off River to River’s Iowa Veterans of Afghanistan series, Beswick speaks with host Ben Kieffer about life during her deployments and how she feels about President Biden’s goal of removing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.


  • Jessica Beswick, former Staff Sergeant with the Iowa Army National Guard, assistant chief engineer at the Iowa City VA Health Care System.
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer is a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River