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Airman Builds Medical Relationships in Vietnam
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., Dec. 28, 2017 — An Air Force physical therapist stationed here was one of 50 U.S. team members who recently spent more than two weeks in Tam Ky, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, seeing patients and building relationships with local physicians.
“Each day we bused out to a government community center where we provided family health, pediatric care and physical therapy assistance and dental care,” said Maj. (Dr.) Cody Butler, commander of the 78th Medical Group Clinical Medicine Flight.
“We would start seeing patients at about 7:30 in the morning and ran all day long,” Butler said.
Humanitarian Assistance Engagements
His efforts were part of Operation Pacific Angel Vietnam 2017 — the last of four humanitarian assistance engagements that made up PACANGEL 17.
The program, which has been going on for a decade now, ensures that the militaries of various countries in the Pacific region are able to work together should a humanitarian assistance need arise. One of Robins Air Force Base’s physicians was given the opportunity to take part in the program, which is typically only attended by members of U.S. Pacific Command.
“I saw between 50 and a hundred patients a day,” Butler said. “To put that in perspective, I see about 10 to 15 a day while working at Robins.”
The overall goal of PACANGEL was to try and build international relationships with the people of Vietnam. In addition to medical care, the team was able to go on a few evening excursions and experience the country outside of the treatment areas.
“It was interesting to see things like memorials and Viet Cong tunnels from their standpoint, where everything was, ‘The war against the Americans,’” Butler said. “So it was interesting seeing this communist country with statues and pictures of their leader Ho Chi Min everywhere as we’re trying to break the ice with these people.”
Butler said he interacted with some of the local Vietnamese physicians.
“In Vietnam, physical therapy is not well utilized — people can’t afford it,” he said. “So, being able to teach these physicians some techniques and tricks of my trade, and then seeing them try it on patients, it was really neat to see them now have another option of care to provide to their patients.”
PACANGEL 17 conducted humanitarian assistance engagements in Bogo City and San Remigio, Northern Cebu Province, Philippines; Northern and Western Divisions, Fiji; and Gorkha, Nepal.
Butler said that by participating in humanitarian missions such as this, the Air Force is able to reinforce its capabilities to deliver assistance to areas that need it.
“You typically think of the pilots or launching satellites as making the difference,” he said. “But even us medics, we’re there to soften the hearts of the people and provide a service that only we could offer.”
[Source: Jonathan Bell, 78th Air Base Wing/US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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Coalition Partner Forces Clear ISIS Caves in Southern Syria
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 27, 2017 — In partnership with coalition forces, the Maghawir al-Thawra conducted a series of ground clearance operations Dec. 23 to drive Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists out of the Hamad Desert in southern Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
The Maghawir al-Thawra, a vetted Syrian opposition force, has been fighting ISIS in the tri-border area of Iraq, Syria, and Jordan since 2015, according to officials.
Ongoing successful operations follow previous engagements earlier this month, in which the Maghawir al-Thawra, also known as MaT, killed several ISIS terrorists in the 34-mile de-confliction zone recognized by the coalition, Russia the Syrian regime, officials said.
“The combined operations are a result of many hours of planning, building trust and close cooperation between coalition Special Operations Forces and the MaT,” said Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s Special Operations Joint Task Force.
Terrorists Lose Weapons Storage Sites
Operations have disrupted ISIS’ freedom of movement by clearing several caves the terrorist organization has historically used to store weapons, explosives and communications equipment, officials said.
The ISIS terrorists were using the area to transit from the Euphrates River Valley, where they have enjoyed relative freedom of movement while fleeing the coalition’s successful Syrian Democratic Forces partners, according to officials.
Recent defeat-ISIS operations conducted by the MaT confirm the de-confliction zone remains inhospitable to the terrorists, officials said.
“ISIS has repeatedly surfaced in the Hamad Desert,” Jarrard said. “However, inside the de-confliction zone, our partner forces have successfully thwarted ISIS’ movements.”
The cave clearing operations highlight the MaT’s professionalism, tactical skill and their overall impact as an effective security force within the de-confliction zone, officials said.
[Source: US Department of Defense -/- Media Relations]
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