Lewis-McChord Veterinary Detachment assumes duties in Southern Afghanistan
March 25, 2013
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (March 25, 2013) -- A ceremony held here, March 16, marked the transfer of authority from the 438th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services) based out of Fort Carson, Colo., to the 218th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Service Support), from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The new mission of the 218th Med. Det. (VS) includes providing working dog health care and food protection to the Forward Operating Bases located throughout Regional Commands South, South-West, and West.
Earlier in January, the 248th Med. Det. (VSS), from Fort Bragg, N.C., replaced 72nd Med. Det. (VS) from Fort Campbell, Ky., to serve a similar mission for the North and East Regional Commands. The tasks are many, and the teams must spread across large distances to succeed.
While in theater, the 218th Med. Det. (VS) supported approximately 700 working dogs throughout Afghanistan, conducted 72 surgeries from combat related incidents, and conducted more than 2,100 exams.
Lt. Col. Howard Gobble, commander of the 438th Med. Det. (VS), and Sgt. 1st class Bradford Birdashaw, cased their unit's guidon, and it will remain cased as the unit travels back to its home station.
Lt. Col. Heather Serwon, commander of the 218th Med. Det. (VSS), and Master Sgt. Frederick Williams, uncased their unit's guidon, symbolizing the beginning of their critical veterinary medical mission in support of Operating Enduring Freedom.
"You all [438th] have played an instrumental role in making us successful during this transition," Serwon said. "We wish you all safe travels as you return home."
Col. William Drennon, commander of Task Force 14 Medical, welcomed the 218th Med. Det. to the team and Afghanistan.
"Lieutenant Colonel Serwon and Master Sergeant Williams, welcome to the 'First to Care' and 'Victory Medics' team," said Drennon. "You have an extremely important mission to accomplish over the next nine months. The 438th has set the conditions for your success and I am confident that you are up to the task and that your team will excel," he said.