Remembering our heritage: Craig Joint Theater Hospital named after heroic actions
By Senior Airman Rito Smith, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 23, 2018
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
June 21, 2006 started off like any other night for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig. He received a call like he had many times before, and as a combat medic he knew saving lives meant risking his own.
Craig had just finished talking with his wife and daughter over a web camera when he got a call that three soldiers attached to the 10th Mountain Division were critically wounded in a firefight near Naray Province, Afghanistan.
His crew was called to rescue the wounded in a battlefield that had not yet been secured. When the medical evacuation helicopter arrived, the crew quickly realized the terrain made it impossible to land. This meant Craig had to be lowered by hoist to retrieve the wounded.
After safely securing the first wounded soldier, Craig went down again. As he made a second attempt so save another wounded comrade, his hoist malfunctioned, and he was unable to safely return to the helicopter. Craig gave his life to save others.
For his heroic actions, the Craig Joint Theater Hospital located at Bagram Airfield was named in his honor.
“Being deployed here and especially being part of the hospital really puts everything into perspective,” said Senior Airman Molly Winters, a medical logistics technician, assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group at Bagram. “It’s an honor to be assigned here and get to live up to Craig’s legacy, as well as make my own mark.”
Airmen who are currently deployed and work at the hospital take great pride in the heritage they are a part of.
“The entire reason I joined the Air Force was to honor those who served, continue to serve and will serve their country,” said Winters. “I’m just really proud to be a part of this organization and serve under his name.”