TEAM 2220: Medical advisor in the field

By Sgt. Jordan trentOctober 1, 2019

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- In a dimly lit room with only the evening sunset providing light through dusty windows, the modern hospital bed, sterile packaged supplies and western medical equipment was in striking contrast with the cracked paint on the walls, flies and the Afghan medical team.

A group of medical professionals tended to a wounded Afghan soldier who was in a vehicle struck by an improvised explosive device. The incident left him bleeding from a lesion on his forehead and with a broken wrist. While caring for the soldier looks of concern from the medical staff calmed when Staff Sgt. Isiah Hudson, a combat medic and medical advisor assigned to Advisor Team 2220, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), said, "This guy is going to be OK."

Advisor Team 2220 is stationed at Mission Support Site (MSS) Sultan, an expeditionary advisory platform located in the heart of Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, between mountains, a desert and an enemy fighting against the 3rd Brigade, 203rd Corps Soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

The Advisor Team is on day14 of a 21-day mission.

"I have some personal ties to Afghanistan," Hudson said. "This isn't my first trip over here. In previous deployments, people have perished -- Americans, ANA and Afghan civilians -- that have stuck with me from those previous deployments. "It made me want to take the expertise I've managed to gain from my years in the Army and give back to the guys over here."

The 2nd SFAB is in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist their Afghan counterparts in their fight. There is a shared understanding among the Advisors at MSS Sultan that all soldiers, regardless of what country they are from, are fighting for their country.

Hudson trained his Afghan partners to provide immediate medical aid to injured soldiers. He also showed them how to provide sustainable aid to soldiers who require more treatment until they are evacuated to a facility with a higher level of care.

Working in a 12-man advising team, Hudson trained other members on advanced medical care.

"I wholeheartedly believe that medicine is a team effort," he said. "I train my team with the idea that if something happens, I'll be the one it happens to. Everyone has a baseline knowledge on my team. I don't train on what I think they can handle, I train them on everything I know and we train quite a bit."

Hudson trains the Afghan soldiers in life-saving medical treatment as well.

"I think they were already doing a pretty good job when I got here," Hudson said. "Going there to help is not for me personally to get involved in what they're doing. It's a way for me to push them to the level that I have seen they have the ability to work. It's a time where they can say, 'Hey, we have what it takes and we can show the Americans we have what it takes to take care of this guy.'"

Hudson works within medical guidelines called medical rules of engagement when assisting the Afghans or other partners. He advises at the point of need, but training is a constant task that involves mentoring when he sees a moment to teach a new skill or helping when it can save a life.

"They showed up here one night, unsure if we were going to help them or not," Hudson said. "We went through extremes to help those guys out and that was in the middle of the night. It gained us the rapport we needed but more importantly, it was the right thing to do. Advising starts with empathy for your partner."

Hudson said relationships matter, even though everyone is from different countries with different base lines. Once a relationship is built, the Advisors can start influencing what their partners are doing on the tactical and planning sides.

Hudson and the rest of Advisor Team 2220 will continue to train, advise, assist and enable their partners to support a political settlement and safeguard the nation's interests.