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103rd Medics: Defenders of the Health

Senior Airman Chelsea M. Atkinson, medical lab technician, 103rd Medical Group, Conn. Air National Guard takes a blood sample from Maj. Kristen R. Snow of the 103rd Air Operations Group during her flight physical on Sept. 10, 2008 at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn.  Maj. Snow made local history on Aug. 15, 2008 when she became the first female pilot to serve in the Conn. Air National Guard.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by 1st. Lt. Bryon M. Turner)

Senior Airman Chelsea M. Atkinson, medical lab technician, 103rd Medical Group, Conn. Air National Guard takes a blood sample from Maj. Kristen R. Snow of the 103rd Air Operations Group during her flight physical on Sept. 10, 2008 at the Connecticut Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. Maj. Snow made local history on Aug. 15, 2008 when she became the first female pilot to serve in the Conn. Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force Photo by 1st. Lt. Bryon M. Turner)

BRADLEY ANG BASE--East Granby, Conn. -- A personal computer consists of many parts that work together to reach a desired end result. Motherboard, SATA cables, Random Access Memory, PCI cards; all these items need to communicate with each other and work as a team to complete the computer's mission. 
     Similarly, the 103rd Medical Group consists of many parts. These multi-faceted defenders of our health ensure airmen are fit to deploy.
     The central processing unit of the medical operation is within the medical administrators. They are responsible for unit continuity, implementing guidelines, and scheduling appointments. From there, the medical community expands to other specialized career fields. The aeromedical technicians provide emergency response services and hands-on physical exams. Lab services also assists in physical exams by drawing blood, conducting drug tests and testing blood in the event of a flight mishap.
     The medical group is staffed with a variety of doctors with experience in different specialties. They maintain an optometrist to conduct eye exams and assist pilots with soft contact lenses. This program allows pilots to correct their vision to fly planes. In addition to the optometrist, a cardio- pulmonary department resides within the medical group. This position is unique for the guard to have, and acts mainly as an active duty asset to help backfill vacancies on the active duty side.
     Another unique position to the guard medics is within the Air Operations Group. Aero-Vac Specialists are a type of nurse the medics can tap into for training or to augment the medical main body.
     The 103rd Air Control Squadron also has medics that can be used as an asset for the medical group. This geographically separated unit adds another unique situation by allowing medical the opportunity to train the medics at ACS so military members do not have to drive to Bradley from Orange, Conn. to have a physical. This saves both on time and manpower and provides the medical group with additional resources.
     Like every other unit within the guard, medics train for deployment. However, there is a special duality that exists within the medics. Not only do they prepare themselves to deploy, they prepare the rest of the unit to deploy. Public Health is the medical deployment specialist for the base and works with the logistic readiness squadron and wing plans to determine for which communicable diseases deployers must be vaccinated for their location. The dental section of the medical group also plays a large role in preparing individuals for deployment.
     "On average, dental emergencies occur the most within the first 72 hours of being deployed. The altitude causes teeth to abscess," said Master Sgt. Richard Stec, health systems specialist, 103rd Medical Group.
     This shows the importance of making sure all military members are physically healthy to deploy. Senior Airman Kent Cremer, bio-environmental engineer, 103rd Medical Group, confirms this by stating, if you are not healthy, you cannot perform the mission to the best of your ability.
     Maintaining the health of the military members is not primarily a deployment function. The process begins with a having a safe work environment. This is where bio-environmental comes in. This section is responsible for occupational safety and ensures a safe work environment by taking air and water samples and taking readings to determine radiation levels. They also maintain knowledge on the chemicals that we use and implement safety precautions for using and storing those chemicals. In the event a disaster strikes close to home, bio-environmental operates a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear explosive response team. With this, they work hand in hand with disaster preparedness to contain CBRNE incidents and provide guidance to respond to and remedy the situation.
     This diverse mission scope proves the 103rd Medical Group is an essential part of the Air Force and the mission here at Bradley. From enlistment to retirement, the 103rd Medical Group will be with you every step of the way.