NEWS | Dec. 12, 2018

Combined Aid Station: Maintaining Soldier readiness

By Sgt. Emily Finn 35th Combat Aviation Brigade

As the wood flooring creaks, the healthcare specialists, commonly known as medics, rustle around the 935th Aviation Support Battalion’s combined aid station at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

The medics are comprised of approximately 20 Army National Guardsmen from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered in Sedalia, Missouri; 935th Aviation Support Battalion, headquartered in Springfield, Missouri; 1-108th Assault Helicopter Battalion, headquartered in Topeka, Kansas; and one medic from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 192nd Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.

“It’s our mission to provide the very best medical care and medical support to get you back into the fight as quickly as we can,” said CAS Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Pamela Hyer, assigned to Headquarters and Support Company, 935th ASB.

Every day, they open the CAS for sick-call to provide level-two medical service here to tend to the health and welfare of the Soldiers assigned to the 35th CAB. They also provide flight physicals for the air crew and pilots.

Located within walking distance of the Camp Buehring troop medical clinic, the CAS is postured to provide daily care a person would typically receive at their doctor’s office.

“The difference between us and the TMC, is the TMC has a lot more services available,” said Hyer.

While the TMC provides services such as labs, urgent care, x-ray abilities and nutritional support, the aid station is equipped with a medical records room, multiple examination rooms, one procedure room, and a pharmacy, said Hyer.

In addition to medics, the aid station is staffed with a healthcare administrator and four providers, including an ophthalmologist. Together the team maintains regular sick-call hours, appointments for ongoing care, staffing support for the TMC and has a dedicated evacuation section, which provides medical evacuation support for missions on or around Camp Buehring.

The advanced individual training for healthcare specialists focuses on preparing the future medics for highly stressful situations. To allow greater flexibility and mission success, many of the medics have learned different roles during their time working in the clinic.

U.S. Army Pfc. Megan Wilbanks, a healthcare specialist with HHC, graduated from AIT in March 2018. She is assigned to assist in the pharmacy of the aid station. She said she expected to see more trauma because there was more emphasis on that in school and less on the non-life-threatening clinical injuries and illnesses.

While her experience has been different than she initially expected, she had the opportunity to learn many new things, including how to remove a cyst. Under the close observation of the providers, who teach with a show one, do one, method. Wilbanks has also learned how to perform sutures.

With providers deployed on 90-day rotations and a team made up of U.S. Soldiers from more than three units, the staff is frequently learning from each other.

The maintenance and continued operability of the aid station relies heavily on the combined efforts of all individuals assigned.

Wilbanks said in order to provide the best care, they all have to work together. This teamwork allows them to complete their mission and constantly improve the aid station.