[caption id="attachment_3899" align="alignleft" width="300"] 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***
[caption id="attachment_3884" align="alignleft" width="300"] 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***
[caption id="attachment_3878" align="alignleft" width="300"] Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Gary Morris talks to students at the American International School in Monrovia, Liberia, where he has been voluntarily teaching a physical education class since February 2010. U.S. Africa Command photo by Nicole Dalrymple[/caption] MONROVIA, Liberia, â€“ Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Gary Morris' time in Liberia, which originally began as a voluntary six-month assignment, will end in August, 20 months after it started.
The U.S. military has been providing mentors and advisors to Liberia's security sector reform initiative since 2006 through a U.S. State Department-led initiative. Morris, a reservist, was serving as a platoon leader in an antiterrorism unit in Billings, Mont., when he accepted an assignment as a military advisor in Liberia.Morris arrived in Liberia on January 2009, where for six months he served as a mentor to the 2nd Battalion of the newly formed 23rd Infantry Brigade of the Liberian armed forces. He returned home to Dallas, only to receive a call shortly afterward asking if he would return to Liberia.Morris agreed to return to Liberia, and served another two months as a mentor. He then moved to U.S. Africa Command's office of security cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. He works there as the Liberia defense-sector reform liaison and assists all U.S. military personnel in Liberia with logistical support. Morris said he has learned a lot about Liberia and its people because he has taken the time to talk to people and get to know them. He said the Liberian people will tell him about the devastating civil war that ravaged their country for 14 years. The Liberian children he has met seem mature beyond their years, Morris observed. "Kids here don't get a chance to be kids," he explained. "That's what strikes me. Four and 5 year olds are out working and earning money for their families." To Morris, who has a 6-year-old son, "It is a fascinating place and a very humbling place." On top of his regular duties, Morris has regularly visited a small Monrovia school for more than a year, and he recently started teaching a weekly physical education class at the American International School in Monrovia. In March 2009, Morris met a group of children who watched as he offered assistance to the driver of a Liberian military truck that had broken down near Camp Edward Binyah Kesselly Barracks, where the battalion is based. He was approached by their teacher at the Margretia School, who invited Morris to visit. During his visit to the school, Morris learned that unless the students brought their own food, they didn't get lunch. Perhaps it was his own experience as a child in Jamaica, walking to school in his bare feet and picking fruit from the trees for breakfast, but Morris knew what the children needed. He began making regular trips to the school, bringing bags of rice and cooking oil and providing all the items needed to provide lunch for the children. In an effort to create a connection between the Liberian armed forces and the school, and hoping others would continue to support the school after he leaves, Morris brought Liberian soldiers to the school and invited fellow U.S. servicemembers to accompany him on his visits. In January 2010, Morris was invited to teach a class on exercise and nutrition at American International School in Monrovia. This morphed into a standing appointment every Friday, where he teaches a 90-minute physical education class to 24 students in grades 4 through 9. A certified trainer, Morris owns and operates his own personal training and corporate fitness business back home in Texas. Many of the students at American International School are children of parents serving in Liberia as diplomats or nongovernmental organization employees. Some are children of Liberians who are returning to the country after leaving because of the civil war. The diverse student body represents France, Ghana, Holland, Korea, Lebanon, Liberia, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Spain, Syria, the United Kingdom and the United States. Teachers report noticing a change in the students since Morris started teaching physical education. The school's director, Gary Eubank, and his wife, Rory, who is the upper school team leader, praised Morris on his interaction with the students. "They are more attentive in class and have been asking about the nutritional value of snacks and food," Rory Eubank said. "The kids love his classes." Her husband noted that Morris has set benchmarks, incorporating the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports into his program. He encourages the children to set goals, he said, and conducts periodic assessments so they can see how they are improving. Morris also has engaged the students in leadership activities, having them lead exercises and giving them an example to emulate. In particular, Rory Eubank commented on changes she has seen in a 7th-grade student from Niger. "He is a superb student and a bit of jokester," she said. "We've seen him becoming a leader, becoming more serious but still retaining his fun side." Morris views his time in Liberia as volunteerism. While he misses his son, he said, he tells him what he is doing and why it is important. "The U.S. military is having a very positive impact here in Liberia," he said, adding the biggest compliment he has received as a Marine came when he was leaving the United Nations Liberian missionâ€™s headquarters here and a gentleman told him, "When I see U.S. Marines, it brings me peace." Morris said the future of Liberia is bright. "I remember the president telling the [armed forces] that they are the future of Liberia," he said, reflecting on a Feb. 11 Armed Forces Day ceremony. "I can feel the pride [the Liberian servicemembers] feel, and at the Armed Forces Day, I could feel the pride that Liberians have in their armed forces." May 7, 2010: By Nicole Dalrymple-U.S. Africa Command
May 15, 2010Â is Armed Forces Day.Â Right now volunteer men and woman are everywhere protecting we civilians here at home.Â And in honor of the troops who do so much to protect us, hundreds of troop support groups across America ship thousands of care boxes each year to them all over the world.
Over 90% of Americans have never served in the military. I am one of them, representative of the rest.Â Â And on behalf of all of those they protect, I thank the troops for preserving our liberties, livelihoods, and businesses.Â Even though the borders of this country are penned with their blood, and even though we don't keep our national house in order, they go forth each day to protect it and give us more time.Â Â Let's hope in the end we can all make them as proud of us as we are of them.Showings of support means a lot to them, and here is an inkling of their gratitude for the bonds between us. "I wanted to say thank you so much for sending out the care package to my airman. She received the box today and she was literally in tears and could not believe that there are people who cared enough to send her a box. She said she felt like it was Christmas or better because she has not had a Christmas since she was younger. It was great seeing her tell everyone who walked in the office about the box. Again, thank you and your team for taking the time to think of us over here and we truly do appreciate your support! " ~~ SSgt Leticia ----- "Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you so very much for the packages we received. We, the 2025th Transportation Company want you to know how appreciative we are for the phone cards, games, magazines, books, music CD's , DVD's, toiletries, the food and all the other goodies that were sent to us yesterday.Â Major H---- was overwhelmed with the packages that came in and he right away distributed the goodies to all the soldiers. It is a hard road for us over here especially during the holiday season. Being away from our families is really tough but with the goodies and gifts it made everyone feel like getting into the holiday spirit. From the 2025th Transportation Company Family we would like to extend our heartfelt "Thank You" for all of your support. We will always have a place in our heart for you. " Thank you.Â ~~ Major Earnest ----. Since her inception America has been unique among nations of the world.Â Â Â We go further to do more good than any other nation on earth.Â Â Â As actsÂ of freedom, not dominion.Â Â Which is why so many foreigners want their pictures taken with our troops when they encounter them in transit. I periodically receive emails from people in other countries pining that they wished their people did for their military community the way Americans do for theirs.Â Â Â You see, America is a charitable nation, with a majority who believes in the personal responsibility of doing good at the individual level.Â Â Hence a voluntary military.Â And hence the voluntary support for its members from us.Â Indeed,Â hundreds of charitable groups have arisen to support the troops' morale and well-being while they are deployed.Â Â Are there amazing people in this country or what?Â You will find these groups listed at www.SupportOurTroops.Org. So for Armed Force Day this year go out and find an event to participate in.Â Â Or send a care package.Â Â Or make a donation.Â Â Find the core moral satisfaction in stepping up for those who step up for all of us. And to all the troops from all of us here at home, I say thank you, and may God bless and keep you safe. Martin C. Boire Chairman, Support Our Troops® Armed Forces Day 2010
[caption id="attachment_3910" align="alignleft" width="300"] Army Pfc. Jessica Kimball and Army Pvt. Logan Yost pose for a photo May 3, 2010, at Forward Operating Base Lightning in Afghanistanâ€™s Paktia province. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Laura Goodgame[/caption] PAKTIA PROVINCE, Afghanistan â€“ Sibling rivalry isnâ€™t a problem for a brother and sister from Collegeville, Pa., who are serving a deployment here together.
â€œMy brother was my best friend growing up; he was all I had,â€Â said Army Pfc. Jessica Kimball, 20, a mechanic assigned to Company B, 82nd Division Special Troops Battalion out of Fort Bragg, N.C. â€œI didnâ€™t have the picture-perfect childhood.â€ÂKimball was 11 when her grandmother died, and she was placed into her brotherâ€™s family for foster care. She said her brother, Army Pvt. Logan Yost, 21, an infantryman assigned to the same unit, always took her under his wing.Kimball said she planned to go to college, but couldnâ€™t afford it. After hearing about GI Bill education benefits, she decided to see a recruiter. â€œThe recruiter mentioned the opportunity to go Airborne, [and] being of competitive nature, it intrigued me,â€Â she said. â€œI talked it over with my brother. He did not want me to go alone, so we both joined the Army together.â€Â After basic training and Airborne School, the siblings were assigned to the same airborne unit. Soon, they deployed to Afghanistan, where they have been on several missions together and look out for each other. â€œSometimes we would be outside the wire for several days in a row,â€Â Yost said. â€œAt night, we would all take turns staying awake to pull security. When it was Jessicaâ€™s turn, I would go sit with her to keep her company so she wouldnâ€™t be alone.â€Â His sister returned the favor when it was his turn for security detail, he added. â€œI feel for anyone who has siblings in the military,â€Â Yost said. â€œWe are lucky to have gotten stationed together, because most of the time siblings get split up and sent halfway around the world from each other.â€Â The siblings already were close when they joined the military, they said, but their time in Afghanistan has made their bond stronger. â€œThe deployment has brought us closer together,â€Â Kimball said. â€œIt is like a hardcore friendship, and it is comforting to know someone has your back in a foreign country away from anything weâ€™ve ever known.â€Â May 4, 2010: By Air Force Airman 1st Class Laura Goodgame, Regional Command East ***SOT***
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