24 October 2012

Helping to save lives one scan at a time

Army Spc. Savanah Walesch, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center radiological technician, conducts a computerized tomography scan at the LRMC radiology department on Landstuhl, Germany, Oct. 10, 2012. The LRMC radiology department processes more than 110,000 studies per year for wounded warriors of Operation Enduring Freedom, inpatients, active duty service members, dependents and retirees. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Holly Cook).

From AF.mil.

Helping to save lives one scan at a time

by By Airman 1st Class Holly Cook
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/17/2012 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Analyzing X-rays, running computerized tomography scans and performing pregnancy ultrasounds may sound mind boggling but it's what the men and women of the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center radiology department do every day.

"We process more than 100 wounded warriors from Operation Enduring Freedom, inpatients, active duty service members, dependents and retirees every day," said Karen Reynolds, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center medical support assistant. "This keeps the members of the department busy through its 24-hour, 7-days-a-week working schedule."

Using the staff's manpower to its fullest, the LRMC radiology department processes more than 110,000 radiological scans a year, she said.

In order to produce the numerous products, the staff goes through years of high-level training.

"With approximately 100 slots for diagnostic radiologists in the Air Force, each radiologist has to go through extensive education," said Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan Unsell, LRMC diagnostic radiologist.

Each diagnostic radiologist is required to attend about 13 years of school before they can become a certified Air Force diagnostic radiologist.

"Since most doctors' patients come through us, radiology is at the center of modern medicine," said Unsell.

As the only military radiology department in Europe, training and up-to-date technology is a must. The department processes all military members in Germany and the surrounding countries. As such, the men and women who work here process information spanning the European Command.

The department's highly trained and educated diagnostic radiologists can process and diagnose images within minutes depending on the urgency, Unsell said.

Having a fast turnaround gives the department not only the ability to assist with diagnoses, but also helps them process more individuals daily, he added.

Responsible for more than 50,000 service members and their families in the KMC, and all of EUCOM, sometimes the work the 13 LRMC diagnostic radiologists do can't be done alone.

"When we are in need of help, we are able to send less time sensitive studies back to the U.S.," said Unsell.

With the advances in technology, radiology departments are becoming more important.

"The amount of imagery being processed through radiology departments all over the world is increasing because our diagnoses are becoming more important to modern-day technology," said Unsell.

By using radiation, magnetic and other high-tech equipment, the men and women of the radiology department have become a key role in helping diagnose diseases such as breast cancer and testicular cancer, Unsell said.

"We use different forms of energy in order to diagnose small medical problems and diseases in patients," said Unsell.

By diagnosing these problems early the radiology department can help patients treat major diseases. They are helping save lives, one scan at a time.

More photos at the link.

Forever in our Hearts

Marine LCpl Richard "Ricky" Slocum
Feb 2, 1985 - October 24, 2004

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.

I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.

I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.

I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.

I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

-- Mary Elizabeth Frye

Much love to Ricky’s family and friends today. He's forever in our hearts.

23 October 2012

They Came in Peace

Beirut, 23 October 1983

"Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers-in-arms"

From Brothers-in-arms: 'They came in peace' by Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola.

Originally posted 23 October, 2005.

Update 23 October 2012, from Jeremy in comments.

22 October 2012

Racing Warriors

Wounded warriors participate in the 2012 Army Ten Miler race in Washington, D.C., Oct. 21, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade.

Clemson War Hero Daniel Rodriguez Honored

October 20, 2012 was a special day for Clemson walk-on Daniel Rodriguez. The 24-year-old decorated Army vet got to carry the U.S. flag as he led the Tigers down The Hill. Later, USAF Captains Michal Polidor and Justin Kulish were recognized for coming to the aid of Rodriguez's unit during Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan.

"It's for my buddies that were killed in action. And I want it to be something that when I see them again, they say, hey, you gave it your all and we're proud of you."

- Dan Rodriguez in an interview with CBS Evening News.

My sister Jeannine Edwards worked Saturday's game as a sideline reporter for ESPN and did a story about Dan during the broadcast. She had this to say about the game afterwards in an email:

He was so pumped running out with that flag, he was jumping up in the air, running around in circles, waving the flag, even BEFORE he came down the hill. The crowd was going nuts!! At Clemson they do this before every game... they say a prayer, the pledge of allegiance, then sing the national anthem. 2 F-18s flew over and one of them tipped their wing, and the crowd erupted! (all 83,000) They cheered a deafening roar for like 5 minutes... never heard anything like it. Then the U-S-A chants started, then that's when Dan appeared at the top of the hill with the flag. It gave you goosebumps.

At halftime they brought out a group of veterans onto the field including the 2 AF guys who flew the aerial missions during the Kamdesh battle, they honored them, and then Dan ran across the field as fast as he could and grabbed them both and hugged them. It was amazing.

They played the military theme songs for all 4 branches, did a 21-gun salute, had a wreath display and rifle with helmet, and when they played taps there was not a dry eye in the house. Senator Lindsay Graham was wiping away tears. It was very moving.

We're so proud of you, Dan!

17 October 2012

Saving Private Ryan

US Army soldiers attached to 2nd platoon, C troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 91st U.S Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team protect a wounded comrade, Private Ryan Thomas, from dust and smoke flares after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast during a patrol near Baraki Barak base in Logar Province, Afghanistan on October 13, 2012. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman / AFP - Getty Images.

More photos and story at the NBC News Photo Blog.

16 October 2012

Around the world in 80 beats per minute

Patients from Bagram’s Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility are loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster II before departing for Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The Air Force's Strategic Transitory Care process ensures wounded warriors are kept safe and receive consistent care throughout the journey from Afghanistan through Germany to the United States. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shawn David McCowan.

From Regional Command East:

Around the world in 80 beats per minute

By U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shawn David McCowan, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Consistent quality is always a priority when it comes to medical care. Successful innovations and greater efficiency can send a hospital's credibility and patient reviews to new heights. And medical emergencies in the military community can be more complicated than a civilian emergency due to the nature of the patient's injuries. But the Air Force has met the challenge, and organized a patient care and transport system that truly flies miles above any other.

Servicemembers injured on the battlefield do not have the luxury of easy access to emergency services. Careful and efficient coordination is often vital to a wounded warrior's survival and recovery. Once an injury occurs, on-scene medical technicians alert Bagram Airfield's state-of-the-art Craig Joint Theater Hospital. That contact begins a chain of events designed to ensure the wounded warrior gets the care needed at the facility best equipped to provide it. CJTH is widely recognized as the premier medical facility in Afghanistan. But they are not large enough to keep all incoming patients. In some cases, that means a patient must be cared for from the mountains of Afghanistan back to a hospital in America.

Patients are transported by Medical Evacuation helicopter to Bagram's CJTH. Once there, volunteers deliver them to either the emergency room or the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility. The Med Tech hands over any charts, notes and insight on the patient's current condition. That hand-off begins a series of transitions of care that might take the patient from the war zone to the United States. Med Techs and Registered Nurses assure the patient receives the best care possible all along the way.

Some patients can be treated entirely at CJTH. But some wounded warriors need additional care.

An Air Force Aero-Medical Evacuation aircraft is scheduled to transport those patients from Bagram to Ramstein, Germany. In the meantime, medical technicians at the CASF constantly make sure patients have required medications and remain stabilized until the flight. Other support personnel also track and coordinate the next leg of the Aerovac flight.

Some people might think caring for patients injured in a war zone may be highly stressful. But 1st Lt. Rachel Hinson, a Registered Nurse at Bagram's CASF, says she loves working right where she is.

"There's nowhere else I'd rather be working. It's so rewarding to work here, because we're taking care of people who have pulled through, and are about to start a flight back to the U.S.," said Hinson.

That flight to the States usually begins within a day or two of their arrival at Bagram. Then an aircraft arrives to move patients out of the country to advanced military medical facilities in Germany or the United States. Getting patients from Afghanistan to Germany and America requires a very special team of men and women assembled aboard a C-17 Globemaster II or C-130 Hercules. A medical team travels with patients during the flight, including a Flight Doctor, a Critical Care Nurse, a Respiratory Specialist, and several Med Techs. The team assembles at the aircraft, where nurses like Hinson turn patient information over to the in-transit team, making certain that care remains constant and seamless.

Aboard the aircraft a Medical Crew Director receives patients, medical equipment, and any information necessary to make sure they remain stable during the from Bagram to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He and the team of airborne medical specialists become the sole source of care for as many as 30 patients during the eight-hour flight to Germany.

When the aircraft arrives at Ramstein, patients are either transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for further treatment or sent to Ramstein's CASF. There, Maj. Maria Coppola, a director at the CASF, makes sure those in her temporary care are kept as comfortable as possible until their journey to the United States. As Coppola watched patients arrive with various degrees of injury, she reflected on the perspective her team has toward all who enter their care.

"Whether someone has lost limbs, taken a head injury, or come in with a cast or stitches, each person is equally important here. While they are here, they really are like family, because we're the only people they have to care for them right now. We do all we can to make sure they know how much we care," said Coppola.

One of the patients, Army Sgt. 1st Class Russell Allen was traveling in a Stryker 40 kilometers from Kandahar, Afghanistan, when the hatch he slipped from its catch, slamming onto his head. He sustained a head injury and nerve damage. He was hesitant to accept medical care, but his experience at Ramstein's CASF caused a change of heart.

"I saw a lot worse injuries out in the field, especially IED amputees. I thought I wouldn't be important enough to worry about. But I was blown away by the care here. I didn't expect this kind of reception or care. Everyone here is treated the same way, like we're all important," said Allen.

As another day passed, and a new flight arrived to take patients on the final length of their journey home, Coppola helped coordinate yet another transition for patient care. This time, her team turned over all patient information to another crew of in-flight caregivers. After the CASF personnel completed the transition to the aircraft medical team, Coppola pointed out that through each treatment, transition, and flight, one constant brought a great sense of pride to her and her team.

"It's so fulfilling to know that, even though this process take patients halfway around the world, through at least three medical facilities, and on at least three flights, the standard of care never changes. These men and women are getting the best care medicine can offer every step of the way. That really says something about what we accomplish," said Coppola.

Even though the next day would likely bring another several dozen injured military members in need of constant care, the CASF team left the flightline with smiles, knowing their efforts meant a safer, efficient, and more comfortable journey for wounded warriors on their way home.

Lots of great photos at the link.

03 October 2012

USAA Bank Launches Alliance with Soldiers’ Angels

USAA Bank Bank now offers the Soldiers’ Angels USAA Rewards™ World MasterCard® credit card to help support the group’s programs and activities.

USAA Bank Launches Alliance with Soldiers’ Angels
USAA named exclusive credit card provider

San Antonio (PRWEB) October 02, 2012 - USAA Bank and Soldiers’ Angels are introducing a customized credit card for approximately 86,000 veterans, wounded and deployed service members, and their families.

USAA Bank now offers the Soldiers’ Angels USAA Rewards™ World MasterCard® credit card to help support the group’s programs and activities. USAA Bank will make a contribution to Soldiers’ Angels with every account opened or renewed, and each time cardholders make an eligible purchase.

“Year after year, USAA has shown its commitment to going above and beyond for military members and veterans, and so has Soldiers’ Angels,” said Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers’ Angels. “We are pleased to announce our relationship with USAA, and I am thrilled to welcome them to the Soldiers’ Angels family.”

“We are honored to be working with Soldiers’ Angels,” said Nathan McKinley, USAA vice president of military affinity. “Soldiers' Angels has done a lot over the years for deployed soldiers and their families, including tens of thousands of care packages. I’m optimistic that this new program will assist in generating additional support, and USAA certainly appreciates the many contributions Soldiers' Angels makes for our country.”

In 2009, USAA opened its membership to all veterans who have honorably served and their eligible family members. To learn more about the USAA and Soldiers’ Angels credit card program, call 1-800-531-7148 or visit usaa.com/soldiersangels.

About Soldiers’ Angels
Since 2003, Soldiers’ Angels has been an ensign of advocacy and support for our nation’s men and women in uniform, veterans and their families. Their motto, “May No Soldier Go Unloved,” captures the energy that motivates hundreds of thousands of volunteers – the Soldiers’ Angels. Join them as they give wings to their work, and help them show our heroes a level of gratitude that is befitting of our great country. To learn more, visit soldiersangels.org.

About USAA
USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.1 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their eligible family members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit usaa.com.