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Taking care of our own

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Travis E. Miller
  • 451st EAES Squadron Superintendent
The 451st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron is like no other patient movement Squadron in the world.

The squadron has a combined the staging facility for the patients (CASF- Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility) and the management cell and crews that fly the patients (AEOT- Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team). This combination of forces, although non-doctrinal, has become a vital part of getting our wounded warriors back home.

These missions depart and arrive Kandahar daily. Sometimes they are taking patients to Bagram via several forward operating bases. Other times they are coming back here after picking up patients from all over Afghanistan. Some of the patients will go to Germany, receive treatment, and return another day to fight. Some of the patients will go home, receive more extensive care, and return to duty.

Most of our patients, however, will eventually return home, after multiple surgeries and rehabilitation, but will not be able join the war again. They will have their battles with years of rehabilitation, learning to function differently with their activities of daily living, and teaching their families how to deal with the changes that have happened to them. The primary mission of the nurses, support staff, medical technicians, and doctors of the 451st EAES is to move all these patients expediently, carefully, and with the utmost professional care. They accomplish this mission with half their normal staff, since our CASF is split personnel-wise between Kandahar and Bastion. Because of this we rely heavily on volunteers from all different shops around Kandahar.

Many of these volunteers have no medical background, perform daily tasks that have nothing to do with the medical field, and have no prior knowledge of what our injured troops go through on their way home. What they do have is desire to serve their fellow Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and all our Coalition partners.

These volunteers are the backbone of our mission here.

They are the ones that answer the call day and night regardless of how many hours they have already worked at their assigned duties. And these are the men and women who will leave this base secure in the knowledge that they helped out with one of the noblest causes- they gave of themselves for their fellow man. These volunteers have seen and done things on our flight line that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. I can not, nor will ever, be able to thank these individuals in a fashion that they deserve. I can not even begin to express how important the job is that they volunteer for. And I can not fully express how proud I am when I see these volunteers materialize, grab hold of a litter, and help get our war fighters on their way back home.

My hat is off to each and every one of you. Thank you for giving so much of yourselves and thank you for your sacrifices. It is an honor and a privilege to serve beside you.