OTF Soldier Story for July 18, 2011 - Capt. Eugene A. Vajna
Current Unit: AMEDD Professional Management Command
Current Position: Clinical Nurse Anesthetist
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Forest Park, Ga.
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y., and Orlando, Fla.
Years of Service: 10
As an Army Reserve clinical nurse anesthetist, Capt. Eugene Vajna is committed to meeting both the medical needs of his community at home as well as the needs of fellow Soldiers when on duty. When deployed, his injured comrades look to him for medical assistance and pain management procedures to help them recovery fully.
In his role as a clinical nurse anesthetist, he manages the pain of his Soldier patients throughout their medical procedures, including pre- and post-operative care. He also provides emergency airway management, respiratory care, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and fluid therapy.
Vajna deployed to Iraq to work at the 345th Combat Support Hospital in 2009, and the following year, he deployed again to Iraq to support the 911th Forward Surgical Team. With each assignment, he provided much needed care to ill and wounded Soldiers.
For the duration of his second deployment, he was stationed in Basra, which is located in southern Iraq. There, he was the only anesthetic provider on a much smaller medical team.
“I tried to anticipate and be prepared for every possible thing that could happen,” he said. “Sometimes it’s boring, but once every several weeks we’d get a really tough case.”
In addition to Iraq, he has also completed two tours in Kosovo, during which he offered emergency medical training to junior enlisted Soldiers in addition to serving as a clinical nurse anesthetist.
Although Vajna’s path to the Army was somewhat unconventional, the Soldier is proud of his family legacy of service. Vajna served as an enlisted Marine from 1979 to 1985, following in the example of his father who served in the Marine Corps during World War II. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Vajna wanted to find a way to use his background in healthcare to serve his country. He ultimately joined the Army Reserve in 2007.
“Something I’ve always admired about the Army is that it attracts a high caliber of individuals who will respond to what needs to be done and maintain high standards that are required,” he said.
Although Vajna’s unit is based out of Forest Park, Ga., the Soldier currently resides in the Orlando, Fla. area with his wife. As a civilian, he works as an independent anesthetic provider, which allows him to spend close to eight months each year either deployed or attending military training.
In the future, Vajna hopes to participate in a military humanitarian mission in the Pacific region. But first, he will deploy to Afghanistan early next year along with his brother-in-law and nephew, who also serve with the Army and are scheduled to deploy in the coming months.