FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 27, 2013) -- Lyster Army Health Clinic has partnered with Fort Rucker's tenant Air Force unit to give Airmen their annual flight physicals.

The Air Force pilots are seen at LAHC for routine medical appointments, but were sent down to Florida for their annual physicals.

"Team Respect will now see permanent party Air Force pilots (about 100 of them) rather than send them down to Tyndall Air Force Base on a temporary duty elsewhere status. This not only saves time for the Airmen, but also taxpayer dollars," said Lt. Brian Turner, practice manager for the department of primary care.

Airmen now save the four-hour roundtrip drive and the government doesn't have to pay for the cost of gasoline, Turner said, adding the annual savings will be about $15,000.

"We are happy to see the Airmen at Lyster and perform their physicals here rather than make them drive to Florida," he said. "Our ability to conduct their flight physicals supports the DOD initiative to reduce monetary waste."

Coordination between LAHC and the Air Force flight surgeon started about three months ago when Team Respect agreed to perform the standard flight physicals and the optometry clinic was able to set up the cone contrast test required for USAF flight physicals.

The exam information is entered into the Army medical data system, and the Air Force flight surgeon can then pull the data and enter it into their specific programs. A print out is then generated for the Soldier and given to his or her unit.

"It is much more convenient for us to take care of our routine flight physicals at Lyster," said Maj. Melissa Sprague, assistant operations officer for the 23rd Flying Training Squadron, 58th Special Operations Wing, 58th Operations Group. "We save time and money while gaining the efficiency of having our pilots back to the flight line quicker than if they had to drive to Tyndall Air Force Base. We appreciate Lyster expanding their services to us."

"There are a lot of people that are making this effort a success. Special thanks to optometrist Dr. James Dover, Flight Team chief; Capt. Gale Hobson, MD; and Ms. Debrina Rose and Maxine Williams of physical exams," Turner said.