Chief Army Nurse visits Afghanistan
December 11, 2012
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Dec. 11, 2012) -- Maj. Gen. Jimmie O. Keenan, the commanding general of U.S. Army Public Health Command, and chief of the Army Nurse Corps, met with medical providers at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 8.
The visit included updates from critical care nurses attached to Charlie Company, 6th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, plus Airmen from 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, and various medical detachments.
The command team also met with chief nurses across theater via teleconference to discuss various issues.
"As the mission draws down, continuing to provide what you call 'world-record care,' that's going to be tough, but I believe you can do it," said Keenan.
Delivering blood products on the battlefield, mobile medical capability, and Enroute Critical Care Nurses, or ECCNs, are a few advancements in U.S. military healthcare that are helping sustain that high level of care.
"One of the things I think we keep learning is about the importance of blood products on the battlefield," said Keenan. "We have been giving whole blood transfusions since the Civil War, and we actually haven't found any other substitutes -- we've tried other innovations, but really the real thing is the best thing."
The ECCN program has shown success and is a program that continues to seek performance improvement.
"What we do in Army Medicine is about taking care of America's sons and daughters. That's why we exist. And we will do everything in our power to do that," said Keenan.
Addressing Soldiers of the 791st Preventive Medicine Detachment, Command Sgt. Major Gerald C. Ecker of U.S. Army Public Health Command, praised the unit for their work. Ecker described PM as "forward thinking medicine" and "stealth health." Though often a forgotten science, PM provides mission-essential force health protection and has gained respect across the Army.
"It's that which we can't see or understand that is going to get us first," said Ecker. "You are the reconnaissance and surveillance. If you ask any war-fighter what reconnaissance and surveillance do for you, it gives you greater survivability -- and that's what you do."
At each unit, the command team took time to express their thanks and dedication to the service members and their families.