NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Keeping America’s military medical personnel ready for combat is a mission Vanderbilt is helping with.

Army trauma surgeon Major Joshua Smith has spent his entire career preparing to deploy. That time has come.

“I’m nervous. Away from kids. Away from my wife. But sometimes there’s a greater calling, and my wife and kids understand that,” Smith said.

His nerves are calmed by the confidence in his ability honed at Vanderbilt Medical Center in a unique military/civilian partnership. The Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle, showed his appreciation Thursday to the Level 1 trauma center, applauding the work to keep these soldiers combat-ready.

“The world’s most powerful Army must have the world’s best medical force. The world’s best medical force can not be trained without civilian partnerships. That is what’s happening right here at Vanderbilt,” explained Dingle.

He continued, saying it’s challenging to keep surgical teams, medics, and enlisted personnel combat-ready when troops are home.

| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Nashville and Davidson County

“[At Vanderbilt] they can be exposed to the trauma that they will experience in combat, and I can’t generate that in my military treatment facilities which is why this is an epic partnership,” Dingle said.

America’s warriors now operate alongside civilian frontline heroes and are able to meet the military’s standard requirements much sooner.

“The testimony coming from right here and from Vanderbilt is that they have achieved and completed, in 30 days, that report card that would normally take two or three years to do if they were in a normal medical military facility,” the Lt. Gen. said.

It’s a vision the Army is implementing across the country as the focus from everyone needs to be staying sharp to bring soldiers home.

⏩ Read today’s top stories on

“My biggest hope is, no matter what happens over the next four months,” Major Smith said. “That I am able to do what I need to do and I think because of this program, I am.”