Doctors save lives everyday and we usually see them in action in the hospitals or clinics. However, this particular doctor saves lives on the battlefield.
He is none other than Dr Khir Rezza, a Major in the Malaysian Armed Forces and a Combat Medic in the 10th Para Regiment, or the 10th Parachute Brigade, an elite brigade-sized airborne unit within the Malaysian Army.
He accredited his life in the military when he first stepped into Victoria Institution (VI), one of the oldest schools in Malaysia dating back 129 years to colonial Malaya. While Victoria Institution is known for its academic excellence, it has the unique history of being the site where the 29th Imperial Japanese Army surrendered in 1945.
“During my time in high school, I had a glimpse of military life through my involvement in VI’s Cadet Band. We had to go to parades, perform the salute, do drills…” said Dr Khir.
After completing his high school education, Dr Khir attended Kolej MARA Kulim to pursue the matriculation programme. During his final semester there, officers from the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) came to offer scholarships to those who wanted to pursue medicine. This sparked Dr Khir’s interest to take on the scholarship offer.
The scholarship presented the opportunity for Dr Khir to pursue Bachelor of Medicine-Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) studies in either Russia, Egypt or Indonesia. Once he graduated, he would need to serve in the Malaysian Armed Forces. Dr Khir decided to study at the Russian State Medical University, Moscow.
After completing his degree, he was posted to Kem Terendak, Melaka where he was selected to join one of the most elite forces in the army, the 10th Parachute (Para) Brigade.
During his five years with the Tenth Para Brigade, Dr Khir was promoted from Captain to Major where he was then posted to serve in Hospital Angkatan Tentera Tuanku Mizan.
What is the key difference between a civilian and a military doctor?
During peace time, military doctors would serve in hospitals and save lives like the civilian doctors. However, with combat training, they will be called in to serve in war zones and treat military patients at a moment’s notice.
Generally, military doctors need to specialise in trauma medicine (immediate medical attention) to treat injuries on the battle field. Military doctors also have regular trainings to keep them fit and combat-ready.
Overcoming the fear of heights
For Dr Khir, enlisting in the parachute brigade meant that he had to overcome his fear of heights. So having the wings badge placed on his chest is a testament to him unlocking that achievement!
“For me, this is the most rewarding part.”
Being a soldier and a social media influencer.
“Actually, my intention is to share my rare experience as a military doctor.”
At the time of this writing he has amassed over 32,000 followers on Instagram (drkhir.official) and over 54,000 followers on TikTok (@drkhir86), inspiring more people to take an interest in the military, healthcare as a career and both at the same time.
His advice for those interested in military life.
One piece of advice the Major would give is one should know know his or her purpose in life. It is easy to be swayed by all the glamour one gets in a certain profession, but if one is not certain of his or her purpose, life will be superficial at best.
“Why do you want to join the military? Why all the hard work? Why willingly shed your blood, sweat and tears?”
The same questions can be asked for any job one is interested in pursuing, to discover his or her purpose.
“So, ask yourself, what is your purpose?”