Health & Safety

August 10, 2012

Help arrives in my darkest hour

Tags:
Commentary by Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Service members retrive cargo dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., near Forward Operating Base Todd, Badghis Province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, 2011. U.S. Soldiers from Fort Carson, Colo., Italian soldiers from the Alpini Regiment in Udine, and other various U.S. and Italian Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen all benefit from the airdrops. The FOB and more than a dozen nearby combat outposts rely on U.S. and Italian Air Force airdrops for all their supplies. This photo was originally released Jan. 8, 2011.

ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England (AFNS) — I want the nightmares to stop!

That’s one thing I told Dr. Jeffery Peterson, a 48th Medical Operations Squadron clinical psychologist, when I went to see him last year.

I admit the visit wasn’t voluntary.

Just before leaving Afghanistan in May 2011, I had to accomplish an online post-deployment health assessment and was flagged by many of my responses. I had to see Peterson my third day home. I felt our encounter was routine, but optimistically routine.

While downrange I was involved in several close-range firefights, as well as living in constant threat of the near-daily attacks we repelled.

I was notified that I had to do yet another PDHA last August. What followed absolutely blew my mind!

After submitting the PDHA, I stopped by a coworker’s office to talk briefly and returned to a ringing phone. A member of the 48th Medical Group staff was calling me merely 21 minutes after pressing the final mouse click and submitting the PDHA. I was amazed at how fast they reached out to me.

I was flagged again and scheduled to see Peterson that same afternoon. I honestly dreaded having to go ‘talk about my problems,’ again but was truly impressed at how the medical system was working like a well-oiled machine. The 48th MDG staff monitored my progress as if I were their only patient.

Once more, Peterson was very positive and he seemed exceedingly concerned about complications in my Purple Heart medal approval. Since then, he saw my Purple Heart come to fruition and has been in routine contact with me. I also received comprehensive treatment from another 48th MDG psychiatrist and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Despite my care moving from the family practice clinic to the mental health clinic, Peterson has kept in repeated contact with me. It’s more than obvious, he cares.

Top-care isn’t limited to Peterson either.

Dr. Paul West, my psychiatrist, goes well above and beyond, whenever I need a listening ear or professional advice.

Furthermore, the Air Force assigned me to Tom Sansone, a Wounded Warrior counselor at the Air Force Personnel Center.

Sansone has been involved in all aspects of medical care, and has called me at home and at work dozens of times. He’s an amazing counselor.

The truth is I never wanted to see Peterson, West, Sansone or the other medical staff. I didn’t volunteer, the Air Force redeployment system forced these people into my life, but I’m sure glad it did.

Luckily many Airmen won’t see lives taken first hand, much less take human lives or lose close friends to the enemy. Yet, others will. For those people, there’s help.

For service members thrown right into the mix of the darkest aspects of war and inhumanity, I hope you fight well and stand your ground, my brothers. I hope you keep our enemies at bay and keep the fight on foreign soil. Rest assured, as I now know, there are people here at home who care.

For me that was my wife, the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program and the 48th MDG.

Through my rants and despair, my anger and sadness, my wife has always been there. Still, there are some things I could never talk to her about; who’d want to put the worst on the ones they love?

In those times and for those subjects, I have professionals at nearby RAF Lakenheath. I’d be lying to say I always had complete confidence in our medical system — I used to have my doubts. But no longer; now I have full faith that the system works and the professionals care.

I’ll permanently change station to a stateside base next month, and the professionals who cared for me at RAF Lakenheath will become people of my past. I admit that fact is troubling. Yet, I’ve seen first-hand success of the Air Force medical system and the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. I’ll be in good hands wherever I PCS to — I’m a believer!




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 FightingFalcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat sce...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar

Lessons learned: Deployment exercise gives new insight

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar Master Sgt. Nicholas Alessi, New Horizons engineer 820th RED HORSE Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., lays block at the Edward P. Yorke school construction site April 9...
 
 
CMSAF1

CMSAF Cody visits Nellis Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James A. Cody speaks to 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen about surveying equipment July 17, during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Cody visited various units to experience first-han...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kiuta B. Ika

Dempsey takes reins of NTTR

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kiuta B. Ika Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander, passes the Nevada Test and Training Range guidon to the new NTTR commander, Col. Thomas E. Dempsey III, during a c...
 
 
1000-hours

Pilot reaches milestone, achieves 1000 flight hours

Maj. Matt Allen, a 706th Reserve Squadron full-time air reserve technician who is assigned to the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron as an F-22 test director, stands by an F-22 Raptor before flight July 21, at Nellis Air Force B...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Fuels management flight takes on Red Flag 14-3 full force

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Senior Airman Daniel Millard, 419th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels journeyman, prepares to fuel an aircraft participating in Red Flag 14-3, July 22, at Nellis Air Force...
 




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