379th EMDOS surgical field team maintains and sustains joint operability

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Ten Airmen from the mobile field surgical team with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base earned the Joint Service Achievement Medal for their ability to perform damage control surgery and critical care in Turkey and Northern Syria in support of Special Operations Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, during the period of Sept. 2, 2016 to Oct. 28, 2016.

The Joint Service Achievement Medal was established by former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger on Aug. 3, 1983. It is awarded in the name of the secretary of defense to members of the armed forces of the United States below the grade of O-6 who, while assigned to a joint activity, distinguish themselves by outstanding achievement or meritorious service.

“It was humbling receiving this award,” said Maj. Howard Bowers, team lead of the mobile field surgical team. “It meant that the joint service members we were supporting really appreciated the MFST operating there.”

The MFST provided medical care for U.S. special operations forces supporting coalition forces, enhancing the unit’s ability to conduct operations in Syria and allowing joint service members stationed there to adapt to a rapidly changing battlefield, as well as respond, prepare, and forward deploy on short-notice.

“We were honored to be serving along-side our sister services and enlightened to hear how much our support positively affected their operability,” said Bowers. “They trusted our skillset and ability to get the job done which allowed them to focus on their mission set.”

The team also provided sound medical guidance during training exercises involving mass casualty, casualty evacuation and decontamination scenarios which better positioned them to respond to potential real-world events. They also facilitated class VIII resupplies sustaining their ability to provide casualty care to partner forces and civilians with life-threatening combat injuries.

“I am proud to be utilized for the mission I was trained to execute,” said Senior Airman Aaron Long, an operating room technician with the 379th EMDOS. “Operating in a new environment brought on new challenges, but also gave me a new perspective on the military as a whole.”

Bowers said that when working in a field setting, a sense of fear may accompany operating in and out of a combat zone, but he would do it again in a heartbeat.  

"It was scary at first, but I am so grateful," added Capt. Jared Wilson, an anesthesiologist with the 379th EMDOS. "This is the highlight of my career; something to tell my children about."