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Public Health: A Deployer's First Stop

By 2nd Lieutenant Jeremy Huggins 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 2nd Medical Group plays a role in getting Barksdale personnel downrange for deployments. Every year, an average of 1,500 Airmen visit the public health clinic to ensure they have the proper vaccines and required lab tests completed before they head overseas.


Different vaccines and precautions will be necessary for each region due to the number of diseases service members come in contact with around the world. Public Health provides Airmen at Barksdale with information to limit their risk of contracting these diseases and therefore keep them focused on the mission.


"We educate Airmen on where they’re going, what they may come across and ways to stay safe," said Maj. Andrew Wallace, 2nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health commander. "We provide a wide variety of preventative medicine programs to safeguard our Airmen.”


Prevention can take the form of vaccines and lab tests, but involves other methods as well.


“Our main focus is individual medical readiness for all Airmen deploying," said Senior Airman Frederick Reidy, 2nd AMDS public health technician. "It’s important because it shows their public health assessment, labs, immunizations, dental and profile status in addition to what kind of restrictions they may have.”


Technicians act as a hub transmitting information between medical providers, gaining units and deployment managers during the pre-deployment process.


"Stay ready and stay healthy, that’s the biggest thing," Reidy said. "If you’re healthy, then you’re ready to go out there. We’re always looking to be able to go out at a moment’s notice.”


In addition to staying healthy, public health technicians advise Airmen to start the process as soon as possible to minimize issues that could arise.


"As soon as they’re tasked, it’s good to come in and see Public Health and we can start all the different pieces that need to happen so they can get out the door," Wallace said.


Deployments come hand-in-hand with military life. Proper preparation ensures Airmen being sent down range are ready to complete the mission. It is advised that Airmen have an understanding of public health’s role in maintaining service members’ preparedness to deploy at a moment’s notice.