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Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 101st Airborne Divisionâ€™s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, congratulates Army Sgt. Brandon Bougades, after Bougades re-enlisted for six more years at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, May 7, 2010. Bougades escaped death when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb on the same day as his re-enlistment appointment, his 28th birthday. U.S. Army photo by Maj. S. Justin Platt[/caption] KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan, â€“ When Army Sgt. Brandon Bougades told his re-enlistment noncommissioned officer, â€œLetâ€™s get this done before something happensâ€Â during a May 6 conversation, he had no way of knowing how prophetic his statement would be.
The White Sulfur, W.Va., native -- assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment -- had spoken with Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Waller of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 101st Airborne Divisionâ€™s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, about adding another six years to his time in the Army.To make the event special, he scheduled his re-enlistment ceremony for May 7, his 28th birthday.Just hours prior to the appointed time for the ceremony, something did happen. â€œI told you so,â€Â Bougades would later say as Waller, from Jeffersonville, Ind., walked into a combat support hospital room on Forward Operating Base Salerno, where Bougades lay in a bed receiving treatment for his wounds. While he was on a patrol east of Camp Clark, Bougadesâ€™ vehicle struck a roadside bomb that wounded his lower extremities. He was rushed by helicopter to the Salerno hospital by helicopter. This was the third time Bougades had been wounded in combat â€“- something he seems to take in stride. His first comment to medical personnel wasnâ€™t about pain, but rather was about the re-enlistment appointment he might miss. â€œYou can ask the medics,â€Â Bougades said. â€œFrom the second I came in, I told them, â€˜I got to re-enlist. Iâ€™m supposed to do that today. I still want to.â€™â€Â The leaders at Salerno rushed to make it happen, with Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 101st Airborne Divisionâ€™s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, taking the lead at the bedside ceremony. â€œBeing here to do this is the ultimate honor for me,â€Â Luong told Bougades during the ceremony. â€œYou know what I think of you. Iâ€™ve got 6,000 soldiers, and I could have picked you up out of a line-up because of my admiration for your leadership, and Iâ€™ve told you that before.â€Â â€œI love this job,â€Â Bougades said. â€œI wouldnâ€™t want to be anywhere else. I donâ€™t want to be doing anything else.â€Â May 11, 2010: From a Task Force Rakkasan News Release
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Air Force Master Sgt. Roberto Gutierrez listens to a patient's lungs May 1, 2010, at an air base in Southwest Asia. Gutierrez is an independent duty medical technician with the 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Joe Campbell[/caption] SOUTHWEST ASIA â€“ There aren't enough physicians in the Air Force to be placed everywhere they may be needed. However, airmen in certain career fields can perform limited medical treatment in their stead.
Independent duty medical technicians like Air Force Master Sgt. Roberto Gutierrez from the 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron here often are attached to units in isolated locations to tend to the units' medical needs."Since there are fewer than 500 of us in the Air Force, most folks have not even heard of us," Gutierrez said. "We are usually attached to flying units or other units that deploy in remote and austere locations."As a member of a small-in-numbers career field, Gutierrez provides a variety of critical services to his unit, performing numerous jobs to support the mission. "We are physician extenders and force multipliers capable of providing different aspects of medicine with a small footprint," he said. "I have multiple jobs here; IDMTs are like a hospital in a package. I treat patients, do sick call, immunizations, dental [and] bioenvironmental duties, such as checking water quality, public health inspections of eateries and the dining hall." Deployed from Yokota Air Base, Japan, the Manila, Philippines, native said there are some aspects of being an independent duty medical technician at a deployed location that differ from his job in garrison. There, he does a lot of training; here, he puts those skills to work. "Being a part of a squadron medical element at home station, we train constantly under the supervision of our medical preceptor,â€Â he said. â€œWe have functional area trainers who ensure we are on top of our game, so that we are proficient in all aspects of the job when it comes to medicine and environmental sanitation." A typical day in the U.S. Air Forces Central area of responsibility for Gutierrez includes following up on patients at the expeditionary medical support unit and gathering supplies. "My day starts out by visiting [expeditionary medical support] to check for any patients seen after hours, and also to pick up needed supplies," the 22-year Air Force veteran said. "We keep close tabs on our patients, especially the aircrew, to ensure they are fit-to-fly to accomplish the mission. We see a variety of medical conditions just like in EMEDs, but with the convenience [for patients] of being close to the flightline." Gutierrez said that in order to be successful, IDMTs cannot be shy or afraid to tackle differing aspects of the health care profession. Additionally, an IDMT must be able to work independently. "Most essential to successful mission accomplishment here is ensuring personnel are in the best health and condition possible," he said. "I enjoy interacting with people and being involved in their medical care. It is challenging to learn different aspects of the operations world, but I have to be in touch with patients and familiar with their jobs and duties so I may better care for them." Gutierrez said his current deployment is his best, in part, because of the quality-of-life initiatives. "I love deployments, and each one is unique,â€Â he said. â€œI love the fact that I bring my specialty to the fight. This deployment surely has been my best, so far. â€œThe quality of life here is outstanding,â€Â Gutierrez continued. He and his fellow servicemembers, he said, enjoy â€œa great dining hall,â€Â and around-the-clock Internet access. May 6, 2010: By Air Force Capt. Joe Campbell, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing ***SOT***
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Army Spc. Shawn Porter of the Texas National Guard demonstrates the archery equipment he will use during the inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-14, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada[/caption] AUSTIN, Texas,â€“ A Texas National Guard soldier receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder hopes to get a boost in his recovery by competing in the inaugural Warrior Games this week in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Army Spc. Shawn Porter will compete in the 10-meter air rifle standing/non-supported and the 30-meter recurve-bow open events.The 136th Military Police Battalion soldier deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. While recovering from surgery at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany in November, Porter was diagnosed with PTSD and transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where has been undergoing treatment when heâ€™s not at the shooting range.â€œThe intense six- to eight-hour rifle and archery training is helping me to quiet my brain,â€Â he said. â€œWhen I shoot, I can only focus on one thing, and I believe the sport has helped me therapeutically.â€Â Porter said he used to be one of those soldiers who donâ€™t believe in PTSD. â€œThis has been a real eye-opener for me,â€Â he said. â€œThe PTSD did not manifest itself after I returned from Iraq, but was [was] diagnosed when I returned for surgery from Afghanistan during my second deployment.â€Â Porter said he wanted to return to Afghanistan after his surgery, but the PTSD prevented that from happening. â€œIt is an illness, and because I am seeing my psychologist twice a week, I am making great progress,â€Â he said. â€œWhen I returned home, I could not cope with being a dad and husband, and my family deserves that I get good treatment.â€Â The sport is a healing aid, Porter said, because it has allowed his competitive nature to come to the forefront. â€œI am confident that I will bring back medals,â€Â he said, â€œand I want my fellow soldiers to know that I will be doing it for the 136th MP Battalion in Tyler, Texas.â€Â Porter is a part-time soldier. When heâ€™s not activated for military duty, he manages an outdoor sports warehouse in civilian life. He has been training with archery coach Skip Dawson. â€œHe has the patience and intelligence to do it,â€Â Dawson said of Porterâ€™s ability to compete in archery events. â€œHe is physically in very good shape, and his stance and form are very good.â€Â Competition comes naturally to Porter, who likes to hike, fish, hunt and ski. He trains every day. I canâ€™t stand to stay home and do nothing,â€Â Porter said. â€œI just have to stay busy.â€Â The Warrior Games, which kick off today, feature some 200 of the most athletic wounded active-duty members and military veterans in Paralympic-style competition. The U.S. Olympic Committee is hosting the games at the Olympic Training Center. Events will include shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. May 10, 2010: By Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Gonda Moncada- Texas National Guard ***SOT***