By Capt. Bruce C. Meneley, commanding officer, NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit Kandahar, Afghanistan and Task Force Medical – South
Many of our staff will be rotating out soon and thoughts of home are frequently on their minds along with packing, getting ready to move, and turning over their jobs to the new arrivals. Even at the slowest times they remain vigilant though, ever mindful that any moment the pagers could go off indicating inbound casualties (as in the case when we recently received multiple casualties one afternoon after an armored vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED)) or the rocket alert sounds indicating inbound rockets (although those too have thankfully been infrequent lately). Paperwork needs to be completed, evaluations signed, awards presented. In the combat theater as at home our focus is always and will continue to be patient care, part of that is making sure the command is ready for newly arriving staff, from updating standard operating procedures to the mundane tasks of restocking shelves.
New staff are arriving and getting settled into their quarters, oriented to the base and their workspaces, and beginning to learn the basics of trauma care. There is a lot to learn in a very short period of time, definitely “drinking from the fire hose.” They have high standards to attain, the current crew has done an exceptional job in taking care of our nation’s heroes and attaining the highest casualty survival rates ever seen in military history.
But the new crew are highly skilled, well trained and also remain ever vigilant. They are up to the challenge.
The region is in turmoil as well with recent events which have produced additional casualties. Ever mindful that we continue to operate in a combat zone, families of our staff can be assured we have adjusted our security posture appropriately to ensure the continued safety of the facility and staff which is our primary concern.
It continues to be an honor and privilege to serve with such a stellar team.