Student Spotlight: Air Force Vet and TCM Student Troy Arce

A native of San Lorenzo in the East Bay Area, Troy Arce entered the Air Force in 1982. There he undertook rigorous training in an elite specialty to become a Pararescueman. Part medic, part combat warrior, Pararescue is a unique and demanding role of Air Force Special Operations.

Pararescuemen are trained to save the lives of people injured both on and off the battlefield. These specialists go through extensive physical and technical training to master the skills needed to rescue others and operate under some of the most extreme conditions around the world. Pararescuemen are sometimes described as part firefighter, paramedic, rescue diver, and mountain rescue specialist and they are trained in scuba diving and mountain climbing as well as in developing the expertise to be able work around downed aircraft and other situations involving sensitive military equipment.

“These things we do so that others may live” – Pararescue Motto

Troy was a Military Freefall Parachutist, a Special Forces Combat Diver, Department of Energy Special Response Team qualified as well as serving as the Pararescue Chief Certifier for the Space Shuttle Rescue Team from 1998-2000 at Space Coast, Florida. In 2005 Troy became US Advisor to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Presidential Protection Service with the US Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program until 2010. In addition to Troy’s many combat rescue missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, he was part of the team that accompanied then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her tour of Afghanistan; so assigned to be able to respond to any kind of emergency, be it medical or otherwise. Troy was also deployed in humanitarian rescues that are necessitated by natural disasters such as Hurricane Floyd that battered the East Coast in 1999 and the 7.6 earthquake that created devastation in the Pakistani territory of Azad Kashmir and also affecting Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

During the time of this high risk and exciting work, Troy took notice of the practice of acupuncture. He first saw acupuncture being used by Korean soldiers early in his career when he was stationed in Korea. He also moonlighted at Canyon Ranch, an holistic health resort in Tucson, Arizona, where became further acquainted with alternative health modalities. Troy also became aware of Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) , which also had its origins in natural disasters, specifically Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. From October 2005 to November 2006, AWB organized more than 25 teams to travel to New Orleans with some 75 acupuncturists who provided free community acupuncture treatments to 8,000 people in Louisiana, including evacuees, residents, first responders, emergency personnel, volunteers and other care providers, working with mental health organizations, free medical clinics, homeless shelters, New Orleans firefighters, police and SWAT teams, the military and Coast Guard, FEMA and a variety of other trauma recovery groups.

Troy was further engaged by Acupuncturists Without Borders when he discovered the work of Carla Cassler who is a clinical doctoral graduate of American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). Carla serves as the AWB’s Vice President and in 2010 she co-founded the Bay Area Veteran’s Acupuncture Clinic (BAYVAC) which provides free weekly acupuncture treatment to veterans, military personnel and their families for pain and PTSD. When Troy’s studies allow he plans on volunteering his time every Thursday night at BAYVAC while he pursues his own clinical doctoral degree in Chinese Medicine.

Article By Charles Wilmoth February 2, 2017
Charles Wilmoth is Interim Director of Development

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About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization