U.S. Army medical personnel deploy as part of security force advisory teams
May 20, 2013
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -The 2/10 Security Forces Assistance Brigade deployed several U.S. Army medical personnel as part of the Security Force Advisory Teams in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 13.
Currently U.S. Army medics are working to improve an integrated, capability-based health care system to triage, treat, evacuate, and return Afghan National Army soldiers to duty. The U.S. medics are helping the Afghans to excel through integration of medical planners, fielding an enduring sustainment system and enabling the Afghans to manage the development of their medical treatment facilities.
Afghan medics have continually shown they can practice combat medicine exceptionally well. The medical leaders have shown they can be independent problem solvers and can coordinate effectively with adjacent units within their brigade to ensure that critical medical supplies make their way to combat operations.
The ANA is making steady progress in their integrated medical system. Due to the time it takes to train medical personnel, some positions are unfilled in the units and medical treatment facilities but what's missing in personnel is made up for in Afghan dedication.
Medical evacuation can be a slow process by ground convoy movements, often times over long distances and sometimes through dangerous areas, but as the Afghan Air Force continues to develop and grow aerial evacuations are on the rise.
U.S. medics have been tasked with advising and assisting ANA medical personnel in establishing enduring capabilities that will outlast the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
"These SFATs are literally the tip of the spear in OEF 13," said Col. Dennis S. Sullivan, commander of 2/10 Security Forces Assistance Brigade.
U.S. medics have assessed their Afghan partner's Role I and Role II unit level medical care.
Role I consists of; self-aid, buddy-aid, examination, and emergency lifesaving measures.
Role II is made up of physician directed resuscitation and stabilization capabilities along with support activities such as; preventive medicine, x-ray, dental and laboratory capabilities. Also assessed were medical evacuation procedures, logistical coordination, mission planning, and facility functions.
"Figuring out the problems was easy; helping these guys to do something about their problems is the hard part," said Sgt. Mike Gianelle, a medic assigned to 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment.
Prior to deployment, the medical personnel attended rigorous training rotations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and the SFAT Academy based out of Fort Polk, La. They learned about Afghan culture, government agencies, the Afghan National Army, and received refresher training on U.S. Army tactics, procedures, and survival, escape and evasion techniques.
In addition, SFAT medics completed Dari and Pashtu language training, foreign weapons training, cultural awareness training and performed many battle drills in order to prepare themselves for their mission in Afghanistan.
Pre-deployment training has given the medics the ability to overcome cultural and language challenges, and through repetition, they have made tremendous progress in the efficiency of the medical care provided by Afghan medics.
"We are very fortunate to have the American Soldiers here working with us to improve the safety of Afghanistan," said the executive officer assigned to 5th Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 203rd Corps. "My soldiers and I welcome all the Americans as guests in our country. You all have left your loved ones and traveled a long way to be with us, and we want you all to return safely to your families."