By unitedweroll on Jan 13, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Blog Note: We find it such a comfort to know that our loved ones who may be ill or injured so far from home are receiving the care and support from the Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants who make up the Religious Support Teams.
by Megan Doyle
Air Force Chaplin Corps
1/9/2014 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Medical personnel at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital see patients from all over Afghanistan with medical issues ranging from kidney stones and appendicitis to trauma battle-related issues, but other teams are also present to provide another type of healing that goes beyond medical care.
Two sets of Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants, known as religious support teams, provide religious support and spiritual counsel to this group of U.S. service members, International Coalition Forces and local nationals.
"It's the unseen scars that we deal with," said Air Force Chaplain Capt. Gary Willeford, a member of the hospital RSTs. "Issues of faith may come up with the traumas that they have experienced. We come along side of our patients and remind them that God has not forgotten them in the midst of their crisis."
"We are faced with many different patients from different cultures and faith backgrounds," Willeford added. "We try to treat each one with respect and honor their faith and culture by showing them kindness."
This approach extends to even the most unique patients, those who are considered enemies. Willeford recalls hearing an injured Taliban soldier communicating concern for his personal safety to his interpreter as he was being treated in the trauma bay.
"Being a patient in the trauma bay is hard enough. You are naked and laying on a bed with medical folks poking and prodding," Willeford said. "Doctors take a Hippocratic oath to do no harm, but the enemy does not expect compassion. After he realized they were going to do everything they could to take care of him, he incessantly thanked the nurses and doctors for not killing him."
As part of the wide range of patients the medical staff sees, the hospital also treats local nationals within coalition force humanitarian efforts, such as malnourished infants and young children with cancer. Though language can sometimes be an obstacle, the teams have learned gestures and phrases to communicate effectively and respectfully. Often a visit and a prayer from the chaplain, no matter the language barrier, helps bring peace and comfort to those being treated.
For U.S. forces in particular the Air Force RSTs have found a great way to connect with service members; they do this by helping them connect to their social networks.
"We provide mini laptops that have access to the WiFi network," said Air Force Chaplain Michael Johnson. "The laptops are very popular with the patients because they provide means for the patients to communicate to friends and family, often for the first time since being admitted, via Skype, instant messaging, Facebook or email."
But often, something even simpler than internet connection does the job to provide comfort to service members in pain.
"I'm usually one of the first ones they see at Craig Joint Theater Hospital since I respond to all traumas in the trauma bay," said Air Force Chaplain Assistant Tech Sgt. Brian J. Ramirez. "When wounded warriors come in the trauma bay they are usually in pain and scared. I've seen many times an instant comfort come over them as the chaplain is praying for them."
As RSTs in a combat zone hospital, these caregivers face a unique challenge of helping healing service members find hope while also encouraging them to experience the grief process at their own pace.
"The most difficult part is letting them (service members) work through the grief process in their own way," Johnson said. "Some of the challenges are in ministering to those who come in from improvised explosive device blasts. Many of them have lost limbs and are beginning to realize that their lives will be drastically different. Sometimes they are still grieving the buddies they just lost."
For these caregivers, who work alternating 12-hour shifts, compassion fatigue is a very real threat. Also called secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue can affect individuals exposed to trauma and suffering, and can result in anxiety, stress and a feeling of hopelessness.
Johnson recalled a recent indirect fire attack and the feeling of being stunned as medical personnel rushed casualties and injured Soldiers into the hospital. Recognizing that he would be in the way in the emergency room in the time immediately following the attack, he directed his mission to honoring the fallen. After checking the identification tags of the casualties to determine their religious preference, he prayed over each of them.
"I was stunned by the events, but I knew that I had to take charge of the situation and provide for the spiritual needs of those in the room," Johnson said. "I knew that any words I could utter would be inadequate, so I sat with them and joined them in their grief."
Ramirez had just returned back to his dorm after a 12-hour shift when the IDF alarm went off.
"I was exhausted and had nothing left in me at that time," Ramirez said. "I was given no info, just return back to work. I knew something bad had happened at that point."
When he returned to the hospital, he faced a frantic atmosphere as medical staff rushed casualties into the facility.
"I was getting overwhelmed; I was not sure what I needed to do next, and things seemed to be moving very fast," said Ramirez. "Moments later, Chaplain Johnson asked me to go find some water for the Soldiers [who had survived the attack]. My training clicked in and things slowed down. I remembered my training taught me to take care of people's basic needs at this point."
Working long and stressful shifts, the RSTs recognize that they need to carefully monitor their own wellbeing so they can effectively take care of others.
"We need chaplains, too," Johnson said. "Interaction between day and night shift can be as much about processing the events of the day as it is about turnover. It helps to have a chaplain that is experiencing the same things to be able to relate to and process with."
The fact that each chaplain and chaplain assistant operates as a team means they always have a partner to work through whatever challenges their shifts may bring.
"I have a chaplain assistant that goes with me on my entire visitation," Willeford said. "When I am especially hit hard with someone's situation, we talk and are able to release our stresses by prayer and just talking it through."
As caregivers to the ill and severely injured in a combat zone, the medical staff and RSTs work together to help patients heal inside and out. For those who have experienced trauma and loss, the chaplains and chaplain assistants seek to provide comfort and hope through prayer and counsel.
"It reminds me of our frailty and our resilience," Willeford said. "We all need to be cared for and are dependent upon one another for our health and welfare. It reminds me of the hope we have in God when sometimes a situation that looked like there was no hope turns and hope is reborn. No matter what our physical condition is we have a purpose and make a difference in the world."
By unitedweroll on Jan 13, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Tune in at 1:00pm Central on Tuesday, January 14th, for our weekly show when you will hear the information from this article and a lot more during our visit with SrA Chance Nelson.
Rock Solid Warrior of the Week
by Public Affairs Staff
386th Air Expeditionary Wing
1/11/2014 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- This week's Rock Solid Warrior is Senior Airman Chance Nelson. Nelson is an Aerospace Medical Technician with the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group. The Woodland, Calif. native is deployed from the 60th Medical Group, Travis Air Force Base, Calif..
In his own words:
Family's military heritage: My parents were both in the Air Force. My father served for six years as Security Forces and my mother served for four years in Personnel Services.
What is your mission here? Our mission is to provide clinical and emergency medical services to base personnel. We also provide immunizations, In-flight emergency response, Basic Life Saving and Automated External Defibrillator refresher training, and medical coverage for various missions and/or sports events.
What are some of the best parts of your mission? Providing emergency care is the most rewarding part of our mission. When we respond to an emergency call or a patient walks through the door with an emergency condition, everybody kicks into high gear to get them the care they need. Providing critical care to our fellow Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers is something we're all very proud to do.
What are some of the challenges you face while conducting your mission, and how do you overcome them? Every patient is different, and every injury or illness is different. We train to be ready for the most common events, but there are always surprises. A symptom that may seem inconsequential to the patient could be the piece that completes the puzzle for us. Ensuring that we get the most accurate patient assessment possible is vital.
How does your job differ in a deployed environment vs. home base? At home base, I work in a Same Day Surgery Unit, where we help patients prepare and recover from their surgery and anesthesia. In the deployed environment, we focus more on emergency care and treating minor injuries. It's a great opportunity to hone our skills and learn more about the medical field.
How many times have you deployed? This is my first deployment.
What makes this deployment unique? I was surprised by the number of morale trips/events, and the free wifi on base.
Why did you join the Air Force? I joined the Air Force because I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself. My parent's service is something they are very proud of, and I wanted to be a part of that too.
By unitedweroll on Jan 12, 2014 | In Military News and Support
We applaud the 446th Airlift Wing on their Employer Orientation Day and the insight this provides to civilian employers. Understanding often builds support.
Treat your employer to a day as a Reservist - Employer Orientation Day is April 12
by Sandra Pishner
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
1/10/2014 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Civilian employers of Reservists are more likely to be supportive and have a good employer and employee relationship when they have a clear understanding of the Reservists' mission and obligations. One of the best avenues for providing this understanding is through the 446th Airlift Wing's Employer Orientation Day.
The next employer orientation day is April 12. Traditionally held each April and October, this is the first employer orientation day in a year as the October 2012 event was skipped because of budget constraints.
Reservists can nomination their immediate supervisor, human resources specialists, or an executive or owner of the business they work for, to spend the day with the wing learning about the Air Force Reserve, the 446th Airlift Wing and its missions, and how Reservists serve. There are only 30 slots available for employers. Please, only one employer per Reservist. Once all 30 slots are filled, a standby list will be maintained in the event we have any participants cancel.
The April 12 employer orientation day itinerary is under development. In the past, the day has included demonstrations of the deployment processing line, equipment used by Reservists to protect themselves from chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear attacks, explosive ordnance disposal techniques, and medical requirements.
"The most popular and educational aspect of the day in past events has been the C-17 flight, which included an airdrop demonstration and a combat offload," said Lt. Col. Anna Sullivan, 446th AW public affairs officer. "We're going to make the request for adding the flight back to the itinerary, but there are no guarantees."
Applications are taken on a first come, first serve basis. Reservists interested in sponsoring their employer for the April 12 employer orientation day need to submit an application to the 446th AW Public Affairs Office no later than March 21. The application can be downloaded here. Or, stop by the public affairs office to pick up an application. For more information, call 446th AW/PA at 982-3330.
Ref: Original article and application for attendance http://www.446aw.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123376392
By unitedweroll on Jan 9, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Release No: 006
Jan. 9, 2014
100 Airmen on January supplemental promotion list
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – A hundred enlisted Airmen have been selected for promotion via the supplemental promotion process, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced today.
Airmen on the supplemental list tested outside of their required cycle because of an extended temporary duty assignment or deployment in support of a contingency, said promotion and testing representatives.
Selection is based on overall promotion scores derived from Weighted Airman Promotion System factors, including time in grade, time in service, enlisted performance reports, decorations, promotion fitness examination score and specialty knowledge test score. For promotion to senior or chief master sergeant, it also includes board scores.
Promotion selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete; generally 10 days after the promotion release date.
To see the list, go to the Air Force Portal at https://www.my.af.mil and select the promotion news link, or go to myPers at https://mypers.af.mil, enter “Active Duty: Enlisted Promotions Home Page” in the search window, select the page and scroll down to the supplemental promotion section.
- 30 -
FB: Do you know anyone on the January supplemental promotion list? Share this story and send congrats for a job well done!
Twitter: Tweet congrats to the enlisted Airmen on the January supplemental promotion list! #airforce
Follow on Facebook at US Air Force Life and Career or on Twitter at AFCareers.
For more news and information, visit Air Force Personnel Center.
By unitedweroll on Jan 6, 2014 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio Network Inc www.stardustradio.com
Tuesday 01/07/14 1:00pm - 3:30pm Central (Live)
Wednesday 01/08/14 6:00pm - 8:30pm Central (Repeat)
Welcome Stardust Listeners -
We thank you for joining us on Tuesday, Jan 7th of 2014.
This week we are honored to bring you four very interesting and inspirational visits with deployed members from three different units. The first two of our visits come from our newest unit, the 386th AEW (Air Expeditionary Wing). Here, we speak with two members of the 386 ELRS (Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron), SSgt Anthony C Young & SrA Katrina A Parker.
Next, we go to the 379th AEW in Southwest Asia to speak with MSgt Anna M Keck of the 379 ESFS (Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron) and then we will wrap-up our show with our final outstanding visit with SrA Bryan M Knehr of the 376th AEW/CP at the Transit Center at Manas in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.
We hope that you will enjoy our show this week and join us again next Tuesday, January 14th, for more new visits with members from our units.
United We Roll World Tour at Stardust Radio Network, Inc
www.stardustradio.com - click Listen Live button
Tuesday 1/07/14 1:00pm
Wednesday 1/08/14 6:00pm (repeat)
1:00pm - Introduction / Announcements
386 AEW/The Rock
Interview #1 (appr 1:10pm/6:10pm) - SSgt Anthony C Young
Interview #2 (appr 1:38pm/6:38pm) - SrA Katrina A Parker
379 AEW/Grand Slam Wing
Interview #3 (appr 2:05pm/7:05pm) - MSgt Anna M Keck
376 AEW / "Liberandos"
Interview #4 (appr 2:43pm/7:43pm) - SrA Bryan M Knehr
376th AEW/CP - Transit Center at Manas
Republic of Kyrgyrzstan
Show ends at appr 3:30pm Central
If you are not able to stay through the show this afternoon,
it will repeat on Wednesday 01/08 evening at 6:00pm Central.
After the repeat show has been broadcast, an MP3 copy will be posted
on the Stardust Radio Network Inc Archive site at www.stardustradio.info.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL & MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Our members serving in Southwest Asia
are in a time zone that is 9 hours ahead of
the US Central Time Zone.
The Republic of Kyrgyzstan is 12 hours ahead of US Central
7:30AM US Central is 4:30pm in SW Asia
7:30am US Central is 7:30pm at the Transit Center at Manas
By unitedweroll on Dec 31, 2013 | In Military News and Support
With New Years Eve tonight - There is something we can do for our Vets, esp those who deal with PTSD or TBI's.
Please limit the fireworks that are shot off in our neighborhoods. Those loud pops and booms may sound good to some, but definitely not to others. Not to mention the pets who become so frightened.
It would be great if fireworks could be restricted to areas without neighborhoods or to the planned community shows.