Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jill Serrano, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C
BAGHDAD—On May 31, medical personnel with Company C, 299th “Lifeline” Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center conducted a joint operation with the 4th Iraqi Federal Police Department to establish a Level One medical facility at Joint Security Station Jihad, Iraq.
Medical supplies were gathered by the 299th BSB and delivered to the intended Level One medical facility location, which was accepted with open arms by the members of the 4th IFP Div.
Level One medical facilities possess sick call capabilities along with life, limb and eyesight controls. They are also used for routine medical care, such as common colds, back pain, headache, sinusitis, sprains and strains.
The Soldiers with Company C took a personal interest in this project after they learned of the Iraqi counterparts’ lack of individual medical skills and equipment needed to perform basic care for a range of maladies, from the simplest illness or to the most severe battle wound.
With only four hours available in which complete the mission, the combat medics from Company C created a foundation for a successful Level One medical facility and established an initial protocol to be used as a baseline for the 4th IFP Div.’s medical care. Working hand in hand with the 4th IFP Div. was invigorating for some of the Soldiers who were experiencing their first partnership mission.
“I had no idea what to expect, but this experience has given me a better understanding of Iraqi culture and the needs of the Iraqi [Security] Forces” said Spc. Billy Mayberry, a patient administration specialist with Company C, 299th BSB and a Ledyard, Conn., native. “I cannot wait to be out here again.”
The Soldiers’ first task was the set up of the pharmacy department. The 4th IFP Div. policemen were particularly enthusiastic for this new capability and were ready to advance their knowledge of medication dispensing and dosing. Sgt. Michelle Mendoza, pharmacy technician with Company C, 299th BSB and a Jersey City, N.J., native, provided her expertise in the handling and storage of medications. She instructed the Iraqi policemen on a system of tagging, separating and explained reasons why certain drugs shouldn’t be prescribed to be taken together.
The medics also found time to help local patients amid the tasks associated with the setup of the medical facility.
At the end of the day, the Soldiers noted that their 4th IFP Div. counterparts were enthusiastic with the outcome of patient care, training and formal supervision over the pharmacy department, the Level One medical facility and the coordination for future training engagements.
“Working with the [Iraqi] Federal Police was an invigorating experience,” said Pfc. Michael Wehner, a medic with Company C, 299th BSB and a Pittsburgh native. “Their eagerness was projected through their faces and their search for knowledge gave me an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.”