NCO of the Year is No Stranger to Pressure Published May 3, 2015 By Master Sgt. Erin McNamara 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- "There are so many opportunities with the Guard, you've just got to find them," said Tech. Sgt. Darrel Hanrahan, an aerospace medical services craftsman with the 103rd Medical Group. "Figure out what you can do and learn from them as much as possible." The 2014 Connecticut Air National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year said that this philosophy is responsible for the success he's earned throughout his career. He also claims that it's the reason he joined the military about 10 years ago. "I've always been drawn to it and the sense of adventure. I figured it would be a good learning experience for me." The learning hasn't ceased. Since his initial training which qualified him as a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician, Hanrahan has continued to pursue his education in emergency medicine. He attended Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he completed the intensive Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic training program. His motivation is personal. "I was always drawn to the fire service because of my family. My uncle was a chief and chaplain and I have pictures of me in fire trucks when I was four or five years old," said Hanrahan. How he ended up in emergency medicine, however, is a different story. "I was in a pretty bad car wreck when I was 18 years old. I ended up working at the hospital afterwards and became friends with a bunch of the doctors and nurses working in the ER and decided it would be an interesting career field." Now a full-time firefighter and licensed paramedic for the city of East Hartford, Hanrahan claims that the balance between his experience working in a busy urban service and his military training makes him a better and more skilled provider. "Coming here, you get to see some of the new stuff that's up and coming [in emergency medicine] that hasn't hit the civilian world yet." And because the scope of practice is broader for a military provider than for than a paramedic operating in his service area, Hanrahan says that his military training offers experience with more advanced techniques. "There are certain things that the military lets you do that the civilian side doesn't let you do yet. So I get to do a lot of hands-on in both areas." Sgt. Hanrahan knows the value of so much training and experience and he emphasizes that to his own troops. "Take every chance you get. If someone says go here, go there, even if it doesn't sound like it's going to be a good time, it's still going to be a learning experience. The thing about the Guard is you're family. You could be with people three days or a month and within those three days you're friends with somebody you've never met before and learning new things from them." Hanrahan is excited to put all of that experience to work in new ways as the 103rd Airlift Wing completes its conversion to the C-130H airframe. "With the C-130 we have more aircrew to take care of and I think there's more of a chance of hands-on medical ventures. We're going to have more ability to deploy and operate with the C-130. We're getting really excited to see where things are going to go." The NCO says that his peers would describe him as fun-loving, but serious and capable when it's time to get down to business. If his enthusiasm is contagious, the Flying Yankees can rest easy that when they need to call for a medic, their cry for help will be met with a swift response by a competent and passionate Airman.