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Biomedical Sciences Corps provides life-saving care in Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rito Smith
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force recognizes Jan. 28-Feb.1 as Biomedical Sciences Corps Appreciation Week. With 15 different career fields composed of officers and enlisted Airmen, BSC is the most diverse corps in the Air Force.

Seven of these career fields are represented at Bagram’s Craig Joint Theater Hospital: biomedical laboratory, bioenvironmental engineering, clinical psychology, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant and public health. The other career fields are aerospace physiology, audiology, clinical social work, dietetics, occupational therapy, optometry and podiatry.  

The public health element provides medical readiness oversight and preventive medicine programs and hearing tests for Department of Defense and coalition forces at Bagram. They also conduct surveillance and education to prevent and control disease transmission through patient interviews, epidemiological investigations and patient education as needed.

Bioenvironmental engineers assess occupational and environmental health risks for Air Force personnel at Bagram and Kandahar airfields. This team provides advanced sampling capabilities for the Army’s preventive medicine detachment to protect coalition forces in country.

Maj. Jordan Simonson is the U.S. Forces - Afghanistan survival, evasion, resistance and escape psychologist. He is responsible for the psychological well-being of U.S. military and civilian individuals who were isolated and have since been recovered.

“At home station I serve as the chief of resilience operations for the Air Force resilience program,” Simonson said. “Here I am responsible for the implementation of resilience skills training and the process governing the master resiliency program.”

Emergency medicine physician assistants support warfighters for traumatic and battle injuries as well as non-traumatic emergent care for patients stationed at Bagram, and transfers from within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

The hospital’s physical therapist is responsible for providing rehabilitative services to the inpatient and outpatient populations which consists of joint and coalition forces.

“Home station a physical therapist would be designated to either inpatient or outpatient but not both,” said Bagram’s only physical therapist, Capt. Meredith Lakomski.  

The pharmacy team administers medication and drug information to support acute trauma response, aeromedical evacuations, the emergency room, two inpatient wards, two operating rooms, and the outpatient medication needs of the base population.

Laboratory officers and technicians provide life-saving blood and acute results for coalition forces critically wounded in combat. This is unique because at home most labs don’t have the hands on experience with saving lives by responding to trauma cases.

“Saving lives is our primary focus,” said Tech. Sgt. Joye Lemme. “We do this in the laboratory by providing life-saving blood to coalition forces critically wounded in combat and that is invaluable first-hand experience for us.”

The 455th Expeditionary Medical Group is the medical component of Task Force Medical-Afghanistan, providing combat medical services and support to U.S. and coalition forces throughout Afghanistan. The group staffs the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, the most capable Role III trauma hospital in Afghanistan. Additionally, they serve as hub for all aeromedical evacuation missions within the Combined Joint Operations Area-Afghanistan.