Skip to comments.Airmen set sail aboard USNS Mercy for humanitarian mission
Posted on 05/30/2006 7:30:55 PM PDT by SandRat
5/30/2006 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFPN) -- Three Airmen from the 374th Medical Group here are deployed to the U.S. Navy hospital ship, USNS Mercy, as it travels through Southeast Asia on a humanitarian mission.
The mission is an opportunity for a U.S. team consisting of medical professionals from the Air Force, Army and Navy to work with members of the U.S. Public Health Service and nongovernmental organizations.
The Airmen joined the Mercy crew in the Philippines and will get the opportunity for hands-on training in the field, including diagnosing and surveying diseases in the area; analyzing industrial hygiene; conducting seminars in field sanitation, food safety and general health for the host-nation military and community health workers; and reviewing and recommending vector control programs with an emphasis on malaria and dengue control.
We will work with the medical team for about three months, said Capt. Shane Sims, Public Health deputy flight commander. This is a really unique opportunity for us in the public health field because we dont often get to deploy on humanitarian missions like this.
As they travel throughout the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and East Timor, one area of the teams focus will be on health education.
Well be looking at the processes in place and offering recommendations for improvement in areas that will benefit the health of the local population, Captain Sims said.
Senior Airman Natasha Dansby, a physical health journeyman, spoke with her mother about her deployment and said she was happy to know she was deploying on a humanitarian mission.
My mom is happy that I have to chance to help people in other countries directly, Airman Dansby said. Im excited to work with the other branches of service, see more of the world and experience a totally different environment. I also know this is a unique opportunity that doesnt happen often for my career field, especially for new Airmen.
Public health isnt the only career field represented by the Airmen. The junior member of the Yokota team will bring organization skills to the mission as a health service management technician. For Airman 1st Class Blanca Gama, a tour with the Sailors brings a certain amount of the unexpected.
I dont know what to expect, Airman Gama said. I know it will be different than what Ive gotten used to for the past two years here, but I look forward to experiencing new things and seeing new places.
An entirely different assignment for US Airmen.
Well back in 67, along the Mekong River our Medical Unit ran civic action in an effort to limit insurgency and we also ran the Good Ship Hope up and down the Mekong.