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Medics return home from deployment

62nd Med. Bde. Soldiers back for holidays after eight-month Afghanistan deployment

Published: 11:50AM January 16th, 2014
Medics return home from deployment

Capt. Michael Kellenbenz

Members of 62nd Med. Bde. are back home again after an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan. The medical Soldiers returned to their families and JBLM on Dec. 14.

With their mission complete the families of 70 deployed Soldiers received an early Christmas present as their loved ones returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord during the holiday season. Eight months ago, the Soldiers of the 62nd Medical Brigade cased their colors, bid their families farewell, and began their journey to Afghanistan as the leaders of a Tri-Service task force consisting of Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel.

The medical Soldiers returned to their families and JBLM on Dec. 14, 2013.

“We were responsible for the hospitalization, blood, care, dental, laboratory, and behavioral health for all of the military service members in Afghanistan” said Col. Theresa Schneider, commander of the 62nd Medical Brigade. “We treated over 35,000 patients, of all nationalities, including our coalition and Afghan partners that we fight shoulder-to-shoulder with every day to protect freedom.”

The statistics of their accomplishments indicate the 62nd Med. Bde. was an effective and vital part of the ongoing military mission. During its tour of duty, the brigade managed the treatment and care of over 35,000 patients. Two hundred fourty-one of those patients were service members diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries or mTBIs. Those patients were treated in concussion care centers and 88% returned to their normal duties.

“I think the biggest opportunities were the experience of being able to work with our sister branches of the military, specifically the Navy and Air Force,” said Capt. Ashley Blau, 62nd Med. Bde. adjutant. “It was eye opening to see how all the branches of the military work together in a joint environment.” Blau said it was a very different aspect working with the Egyptians and Koreans, both of whom run international hospitals on Bagram Air Base.

The unit mission wasn’t solely focused on soldier care, but also on the reduction of force materials in country as the Army continues its drawdown from the region. The 62nd Med. Bde. diminished container usage from 324 to 107, a 67 percent decrease, and reduced outstanding contractor costs from $17.5 million to $2.2 million. The brigade shrank theater property equipment from 10,000 pieces to just under 5,500, a 45 percent decrease.

During the duration of the deployment and in conjunction with U.S. Army Military Police, the 62nd Med. Bde. oversaw the daily medical treatment of detainees of the Afghan Detainment Facility with operational and administrative control successfully transferred shortly before the conclusion of the deployment.