Air Force

July 5, 2013

163d Medical Group treats island locals in joint exercise

Tags:
Senior Airman Michael Quiboloy
163d RW public affairs

Maj. Maria Ignacio, nurse practitioner, 163rd Medical Group, California Air National Guard, March Air Reserve Base, checks local man Ernesto Leano for ear disease using an otoscope at the Iao Intermediate School in Wailuku, Hawaii, last month. More than 500 U.S. service members spread across Hawaii for Tropic Care 2013, a deployment readiness training exercise that offers free health care to medically underserved areas of the state.

WAILUKU, Hawaii. – Twenty-four members of the 163d Medical Group from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., participated in Tropic Care 2013, a joint readiness training mission that offered free health care to medically underserved areas of the state from June 4 to 12. They joined more than 500 other U.S. service members that gathered across Hawaii for the operation.

The Innovative Readiness Training mission was designed to prepare service members for rapid response missions and disaster relief in a tropical setting while simultaneously aiding the local populace, said Air Force Col. Jerry Arends, mission director for Tropic Care 2013. It involved active duty, Guard and Reserve units from the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy.

Optometry, dentistry, physical exams and counseling were among the types of care provided, all of which locals received on a “first come, first served” basis, free of charge and without any form of identification required until operations ended on June 12.

By mission’s end, the clinics saw approximately 6,000 optometry patients, 3,000 dental patients and 3,000 medical patients. More than a thousand prescription glasses were made during the mission, the largest IRT operation to date.

Members of the 163 MDG were spread out across three islands. The group included junior enlisted airmen getting their first experiences with this type of training.

“For them it’s very valuable because it gives them an overview of what we actually do in the field, especially for someone new to the unit that’s never been deployed,” said Maj. Julian Manalo, site commander for the Iao Intermediate School clinic. “It gives them a chance to see what it’s like, to see the living conditions and what’s involved with the work. It’s good training.”

The medical group’s team included optometry technicians, dental hygienists, nurses, a pediatrician, a logistics specialist, a dentist, medics, public health specialists, two site commanders and more. They were joined by Col. David Walton, California Air National Guard’s state air surgeon, who provided his services in women’s health on Lana’i.

The group was a major contributor to the mission, with personnel working at several clinical sites in Maui, Ka’u and on the big island of Hawaii.

Senior Airman Katy Peña, a medic, was among the 163 MDG’s team members in Maui. She said the mission was an excellent training experience as well as an excellent life experience.

“On one hand you get real-world training, treating people with symptoms that you don’t normally see on the mainland,” said Peña. “On the other hand, you also see what the conditions are like for people who live here and can’t afford health care. You really learn to appreciate things.”

Some were prescribed medicine for simple aches and pains, others were able to receive prescription glasses made completely on-site, and there were even potentially life-changing experiences.

Manalo and Peña recalled a young girl who traveled from another island with her mother when they heard about the military’s offering of free medical treatment. The girl suffered from elephantiasis, a condition characterized by the gross enlargement of areas of the body, typically the limbs. The parasitic infection had caused the girl’s leg to balloon in size, which caused her pain and also stunted her growth. She was 14 years old, though at first glance many thought she was closer to half that age.

She was able to be treated and referred to the Department of Public Health for continued treatment. It was estimated that her leg would return to a normal size in about one year, which would enable her to live a more normal life.

Another local was particularly grateful for the mission.

“It is a blessing for me because I don’t have health care,” said 61-year-old Ernesto Leano, who was being treated for back problems. “I said, ‘thank God,’ when I saw this.”

“I’m very happy to see you here,” said Leano. “I will never forget in my life how they helped me here.”

The next destination for the 163 MDG is Latvia, as they accompany a civil engineer unit on a mission to build a schoolhouse. That mission is slated for August.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang

Airman retires after 37 years of service

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang Chief Master Sgt. Karen L. Krause, 452nd Maintenance Operations Squadrons superintendent, receives a flag from a Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard member during her retireme...
 
 

Look past 1947 for Air Force roots

The Air Force officially turns 67 this month, but my Uncle Gino thinks it’s older. He’s 90 and the lone surviving brother of my father. Both of them served in World War II, as did two of their siblings. My father was in the Navy, as was his eldest brother, Europeo (his real name, I...
 
 

Air Force revamps Air Expeditionary Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support (ACS) Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force (AEF) construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to...
 

 

Air Force’s top leader discusses Reserve future

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Citizen Airmen have an advocate at the very top of Air Force. During a visit to Robins Air Force Base, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James discussed several issues related to the Air Force Reserve’s future. As the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard continue to...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Rick Sforza, 4th Combat Camera Squadron

March host wing contributes to overall success of Mobility Air Force mission

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Rick Sforza, 4th Combat Camera Squadron A KC-135R from the 336th Air Refueling Squadron refuels a C-17A from the 729th Airlift Squadron. Both aircraft are from the Air Force Reserve Command’s ...
 
 

BASH: Protecting our aircraft, Airmen

U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Bari Wald David Briseño, wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture and head of Marchs’ Bird/Anti-Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program, prepares to fire a 12-gauge ‘shell cracker’ into the air with his shotgun. Firing ‘shell crackers’ is one of many pyrotechnic methods used in the BASH program to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin