Combat medics treat Afghan locals, provide healthcare to remote villages
Aug 1, 2009By Spc. Elisebet Freeburg, Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan Public Affairs Specialist
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - In a garrison environment, medics operate sick-call clinics for ill or injured Soldiers. On the frontlines, medics stabilize severely-wounded troops long enough for a medical evacuation to a field hospital. At Forward Operating Base Baylough, two medics of the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment use their medical skills for not only their fellow Soldiers but also local Afghans.
Although a medic's chief mission is to care for Soldiers, Afghanistan has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world with an average life expectancy of only 44 years. Because of this lack of medical care, Spc. Chad E. Brown from Red Oak, Texas, and Spc. Rodrigus I. Purdiman from Cairo, Ill., treat ill or injured locals.
"The impression we try to leave is that America is here to help them in their lives and not to hurt them in any kind of way," said Purdiman.
Assigned to austere FOB Baylough, Purdiman and Brown rotate their duties. One medic operates the FOB aid station where Soldiers report when feeling ill or when injured, while the other medic accompanies Soldiers on daily patrols. Most of the patrols trek through mountainous terrain to local villages within the Deh Chopan district, Zabul province.
"When we're on patrol we provide aid -- humanitarian aid or first aid for citizens," said Brown.
On occasion, villagers approach Soldiers for medical care. Usually, the 1-4 Inf. Regt. patrol leader will ask village leaders if anyone is ill or injured. Some patients cannot be treated with supplies from the medic's aid bag.
"The hard part is they don't like to come in, for whatever reason, on their own," said Brown. "But I'll urge them to come into the aid station and let me take care of them a lot better than in the field."...
There is more, and you can find that here. Be sure to check out the sidebar stories at that link, too, as there are some other interesting stories about Afghanistan.
Thank you to all the combat medics for their service. They truly ARE heroes.