Surgical team
Lt. Col. Mark Manoso, 102nd Forward Surgical Team commander, and Sgt. 1st Class Nadia Kahla, case the unit colors in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.

Every Soldier plays an important role on the battlefield, but few who deploy take with them a mission as critical as the Army's surgical teams.

Members of the 102nd Forward Surgical Team, 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, cased their guidon Jan. 12, signifying an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. The team will uncase its colors upon reaching their destination, where its 21 members will provide surgical support to U.S. troops and coalition forces fighting the war on international terrorism.

The 102nd Forward Surgical Team is the first of four under 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion scheduled to leave for Afghanistan or Iraq between now and June.

The unit has spent the last year preparing for the deployment, and has shown it is ready for whatever challenges come its way, said Lt. Col. Anthony Nesbitt, 56th MMB commander.

"If you want to know how to get into it and (get) ready to deploy, this is how you do it. This is how you do it professionally," Nesbitt said.

All members of the unit recently completed intensive training at the Army Trauma Training Center in Miami, which the 102nd Forward Surgical Team commander said has further boosted his confidence in their abilities.

"Clinically, they look very good," said Lt. Col. Mark Manoso, 102nd Forward Surgical Team commander. "In addition to the clinical training, they underwent multiple (field training exercises) to become technically expert at military activities. I feel very comfortable and confident with their military skills."

The team's primary mission will be to provide surgical care to wounded American Soldiers, as well as Afghan troops and security forces. They will also assist the local Afghan population who risk loss of life, limbs or eyesight.

While 102nd Forward Surgical Team is taking care of business downrange, 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion promised to take care of families stateside.

Nesbitt thanked team members and their families for their unwavering support while enduring long work hours in preparation for deployment.

"You guys cannot do this without them, and I hope they understand how much we appreciate them and how much you appreciate them," Nesbitt said. "You are an outstanding Forward Surgical Team, and we're going to miss you being a part of the team here, but we know you're doing what you were called to do."

"The unit is ready and wants to deploy," Manoso said. "I look forward to the deployment, but more than that, I look forward to each one of us returning home safely."

Page last updated Thu January 20th, 2011 at 17:41