LANDSTUHL, Germany - Individuals may argue the best jobs in the military involve combat operations, intelligence gathering and other positions reflective of the movie “Mission Impossible.” What some never consider is the effect some individuals have on the health and readiness for tens of thousands of patients.
To U.S. Air Force Capt. Mary Storey, a member of the 86th Medical Squadron and chief of Core Laboratory at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, proving her worth against some of the other action packed jobs is just a matter of selfless service.
“(Storey’s) work has been exemplary,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Cory Hedin, deputy chief of the Pharmacy Department at LRMC and the 86th MDS flight commander overseeing Storey’s section. “She has really stood out in a lot of ways as a leader and has been asked to fill into field grade officer positions at LRMC.”
Storey, a native of Indian Heights, Indiana, was recently recognized as the 86th Airlift Wing’s Company Grade Officer of 2020, the host wing of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, reigning over officers in the ranks of first and second lieutenant, and captain.
With over 110,000 COVID-19 tests performed at LRMC, Storey’s leadership was also key to ensuring the Kaiserslautern Military Community in Germany could detect and trace the virus to prevent further spread.
Hedin explains without Storey’s oversight, the entire COVID-19 testing mission could have been at risk.
“During (the pandemic), (Storey) has been a key component in making sure (COVID-19) tests are available when providers need to be testing people,” said Hedin. “If we can’t test people, we have no idea where the virus is going and we’re potentially losing (Service Members) to sickness and other things, so she does a lot of work, coordinating testing capabilities.”
Assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, the 86th AW is the parent organization of seven groups and 30 squadrons across four military installations in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Portugal.
Additionally, the wing is the sole provider of airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuation flying operations.
“We are a 24/7 operation,” said Storey. “Our mission with core lab also supports preoperative procedures), the COVID-19 mission, while also looking for ways to advance our operations through process improvement projects.”
The core laboratory is comprised of hematology, chemistry, endocrinology, noncellular immunology, and urinalysis and coagulation labs which perform over 1 million clinical tests annually.
“(Working at LRMC) has been quite the experience working in a joint environment,” said Storey, whose husband serves in the U.S. Army. “I think I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown, it’s definitely a different experience and taking you out of the comfort zone as well.”
It was Storey’s consciousness of working in a joint environment which led her to seek changes to processes for Airmen working in an Army-led Military Treatment Facility, helping streamline laboratory results to the appropriate electronic records to more than 250 Airmen assigned to the 86th MDS at LRMC. Additionally, Storey led three professional organization surveys while serving as the chief for regional laboratory services, resulting in minimal discrepancies to include a flawless inspection at U.S. Army Health Clinic Baumholder.
While Storey’s selection is an individual recognition, she credits her success to her team and explains the vast operations of LRMC’s laboratory services is what led her to being selected for the recognition.
“I believe it’s a team award,” said Storey. “We (approximately two dozen) team members, most of them are Soldiers, and some Air Force and civilian personnel. My role as a mentor and leader is to support them, listen to them and take their feedback and anything that I can help improve and make things better that that’s what I’m here for.”
Staying true to her leadership ethics, Storey assisted in the selection of two enlisted Airmen to a commissioning program, helping develop future leaders in the Air Force officer ranks.