By Sgt. Blair NeelandsOctober 14, 2010
MAIMANEH, Afghanistan - Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment brought medical supplies to the Ghormach Clinic and provided medical aid to local people Oct. 2 and 3.
During the two-day mission, two providers and seven medics from throughout 1st Brigade Combat Team assessed and treated more than 400 men, women and children from the district of Ghormach.
"We provided medical screening for the local population of Ghormach and the surrounding areas," said Staff Sgt. Bobby Hooper, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery.
Local Afghan National Police along with Soldiers from 3-6 FA provided security in and around the clinic. Both males and females from the ANP conducted searches of patients before entering the clinic.
"We had a male and female screening area where we treated and wounds or illnesses they had," said Staff Sgt. Perris Dumas, 3-6 FA civil affairs noncommissioned officer in charge.
Many of the people travelled from distant villages to be seen for their various ailments and injuries, such as broken bones, common body aches and even serious illnesses.
"The most common ailments they came to us with were body aches, gastro intestinal problems, and eye and ear infections," Hooper said.
Spc. Margie Huelskamp, a combat medic attached to 3-6 FA, said some of the cases she saw were very serious.
"It's really hard when people come in with things we can't fix," she said. "We had a lady come in with a very large hernia, and there's nothing we could do for her. She needs surgery."
Female medical personnel also had children's vitamins and medications specifically for women to hand out.
"We were able to give the women pre-natal vitamins and medicine for yeast infections," Huelskamp said.
Every child who came through the medical screenings also left with goodies the Soldiers brought with them.
"Not only are we giving them medication, but we also give candy and toys to the (children) so they all leave with something," Huelskamp said.
This was the first time many of the medics had participated in a mission like this one. The younger ones nurtured and improved their medical skills, while at the same time they experienced a unique connection with the Afghan populace.
"It really enhanced their clinical skills," Hooper said. "We mainly deal with trauma, but events like this enhance our clinical skill to make us well-rounded medics."
Capt. Scott Elwell, HHB commander, said he believed the mission was a great success for the people of the Ghormach District.
"We were definitely successful," he said. "Afghans helping Afghans, Americans and Afghans working together is (collectively) what it's all about."