Medical readiness leaders get familiar with Kunsan

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Emili Koonce
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Harrell, Air Force Medical Readiness Agency commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Charles G. Wortman, chief of enlisted forces for AFMRA, visited 8th Fighter Wing leaders and Airmen, August 3-4.

The tour began with a meeting between the AFMRA leaders and Col. Jeffrey D. Shulman, 8th FW deputy commander, to discuss the wing’s current medical readiness posture.

Harrell and Wortman also sat down with 8th Medical Group leaders to include Col. Elizabeth Anderson-Doze, 8th MDG commander, who has cultivated a mission focused mindset for the group since assuming command June 20.

Anderson-Doze priorities are people, mission and trusted care; all things necessary to ensure the Med Hawks continue to keep the Wolf Pack ready to defend the base, accept follow-on forces and take the fight north.

“Kunsan is a mission focused assignment and provides an atmosphere like no other base in the Air Force to prepare our Airmen with a ‘Fight Tonight’ mentality,” said Anderson-Doze. “Our medics are training harder than ever to ensure we are synchronized with the 8th FW and prepared for all possible scenarios.”

To complete their medical treatment facility tour, Harrell and Wortman stepped into the war reserve materials bay to meet 8th Healthcare Operations Squadron Airmen tasked to ensure the expeditionary medical support and en route patient staging systems are ready to be employed at all times. The systems are focused on stabilizing patients during a contingency operation and returning them to the fight or staging patients in need of a higher echelon of care for transportation.

“We take pride in what we do,” said Capt. Dominique Robleto, 8th HCOS medical logistics flight commander. “This opportunity to meet with General Harrell face-to-face and show him why we need these capabilities, better resupply timelines or equipment repairs means so much to the team.”

The Secretary of the Air Force recently authorized the Air Force Medical Service to re-organize and establish the Air Force Medical Command with the intent to organize, train and equip medical Airmen for the future fight. Soon Harrell will step into a new role within AFMED where his scope of responsibility will encompass the Indo-Pacific region, a portion of the world he has yet to be stationed in during his 25-year career.

“To be here is a complete game changer because you can look at slides about it, but until you get out and walk it and understand firsthand what’s going on, you just don’t have the full picture,” said Harrell. “It helps me when I think about the things needed to support the wing’s mission and provide combat medical support in a location where you really have to be ready to fight tonight.”

“The AFMED transition is scheduled to begin October 1st and while there is still much to navigate, the Med Hawks will tackle this transition with purposeful transparency to ensure we remain strong mission partners with the Wolf Pack,” said Anderson-Doze.

Skilled Air Force medics are finite resources with dual wartime and garrison mission-sets. AFMED seeks to prioritize and reduce friction points in balancing complex healthcare delivery and readiness priorities.