CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Congressmen from three states visited Soldiers from their congressional districts serving here to receive an update on the fight against ISIS.
The delegation included Florida Reps. Dennis Ross, Darren Soto, and Neal Dunn, Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, and Ohio Rep. Bob Latta.
Brig. Gen. John Epperly, the Deputy Commander of the 29th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, escorted the delegation as they received briefings on Operations Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve. U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman also participated in the day's events. After touring warehouses of Army Prepositioned Stock stored at Camp Arifjan, the Congressmen boarded UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to travel to Camp Buerhing for lunch with their constituents.
Each Congressman had their own unique interactions with Soldiers from their Districts. Rep. Lynch asked his constituent service members for their home addresses so he could write personal letters of thanks to their families. He also gave out his personal coin as another token of gratitude for the Soldier's sacrifice.
Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Wilson, with Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th General Support Aviation Battalion, presented a company coin to a surprised Rep. Ross. Ross admired the coin in his hand while turning it over several times while expressing his gratitude.
Formal demonstrations of service and military proficiency followed. Delegation observed a demonstration of aeromedical evacuation procedures conducted by Company C, 1st Battalion, 111th General Support Aviation Battalion. Maj. Josh Damera, the company commander, explained how a quick response time is crucial to successful medical evacuation, or MEDEVAC, procedures.
"Every second counts when a guy's life is on the line," Damera said. "That first 15 minutes is crucial."
The demonstration showed the unit's ability to respond on short notice. The standard is a response that supports getting wounded patients to care within the "Golden Hour." The air ambulance company starts their clock when the aircrew receives a launch alert and it runs until the crew delivers the patient to a surgical care facility. The helicopter is prepared before every mission and then the crew maintains their readiness until their next mission. Maintaining launch readiness saves precious time and helps get the patient to care as quickly as possible.
During this drill, once the MEDEVAC crew received their alert they rushed to the flight line with their medical gear. The whine of the UH-60's turbine engines and rotor blades turning followed shortly after; the crew was ready to launch within minutes of their alert.
After the demonstration, the delegation returned to Camp Arifjan as the sun set on the horizon. Having achieved their goals of thanking constituents personally for their service and assessing U.S. military capabilities in-theater, the delegation said goodbye to Brig Gen. Epperly, Ambassador Silverman, and Camp Arifjan before heading back to Washington.