There were 2 ways to join a medical unit - either as having had a 'medical-related' job before joining the Armed Forces, or just being selected during Basic Training for a 'medical' function !
In addition to the Training peculiar to the Medical Department, every member of the Armed Services had to participate in Basic Training
. There were a number of military subjects prescribed by the War Department regardless of the selected Arm or Service . They included defense and protection, personal hygiene, sanitation and first aid, equipment, clothing, tent pitching, and physical training, as well as drill and military courtesy and discipline (the program usually consisted of a 13-week detailed MTP - Mobilization Training Program) .
The above was generally followed by Technical Training
including 'special' training and instruction required by medical personnel to perform all necessary technical services for which it was to become responsible . Trainees of divisional medical units (e.g. Medical Battalions or Medical Companies) and attached medical personnel (e.g. Medical Detachments) .
A Tactical Training
was also given including logistical movements, field operation and function of the various medical installations operated by the medical unit .
The original 13-week program was later restricted to 11 weeks, which was given at the new MRTC - Medical Replacement Training Centers .
Basically, the original 13-week program consisted of :
First or Basic period > 2 weeks
Technical period > 8 weeks
Tactical period > 3 weeks
Specific hours were allotted to a number of different subjects, and training differed for Medical Officers, Basic - Medical - Surgical - Dental - Veterinary - Sanitary Technicians, and Enlisted Men .
With regard to the 82d Airborne Division or the 101st Airborne Division, there was only a single Airborne Medical Company (no Battalion) for obvious practical reasons . While the majority of the medical personnel obtained their jump wings after joining their unit (reasons of pride, status, etc), there were medics who never got them, after all, they were members of an 'airborne' unit (i.e. to be moved by 'airborne' means, such as aircraft and/or gliders, not necessarily to jump with a parachute) . There have been cases of medical personnel, who skipped parts of the foreseen medical training, for already possessing the required skills (such as Registered Nurses or Physicians), and I know medics who were assigned to 'medical' units directly from Replacement Depots, w/o having gone through the required technical training (urgency to replace unit losses) . As a matter of fact, there will always be exceptions ... some people even volunteered for the Airborne, or were keen to obtain Jump Wings too ...
I hope the above will be useful, one way or another .