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325th MDG: From hurricane recovery to sustainment

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Ewens, a 96th Aeromedical Squadron independent duty medical technician out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, provides medical care to a patient inside a mobile medical clinic at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 17, 2018. Support personnel from Tyndall and other bases were on location to support Airmen returning to their homes to assess damage and collect personal belongings. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kelly Walker)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Ewens, a 96th Aeromedical Squadron independent duty medical technician out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, provides medical care to a patient inside a mobile medical clinic at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 17, 2018. Support personnel from Tyndall and other bases were on location to support Airmen returning to their homes to assess damage and collect personal belongings. (U.S. Air Force photo by A1C Kelly Walker)

Medical

Tech Sgt. Veronica Cotton, 96th Medical Group NCOIC of Family Medical Residency, puts an intravenous for a patient in the medical tent Oct. 22, 2018 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. After Hurricane Michael swept the area, multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sean Carnes)

Medical

Senior Airman Christian Schaefer, 96th Medical Group Inpatient Squadron Medical Services Unit Medical Technician, preps a intravenous for a patient Oct. 22, 2018 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. After Hurricane Michael swept the area, multiple major commands have mobilized relief assets in an effort to restore operations after the hurricane caused catastrophic damage to the base. (US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sean Carnes)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The 325th Medical Group recently moved from a tent-based hurricane recovery posture to a sustainment footprint in a semi-permanent medical facility. The unit provided vital medical care capabilities in the first few weeks after Hurricane Michael, now they are working to return some normalcy to their operations.

The team that provided initial care after the hurricane was largely made up of personnel from other bases such as Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. Now there is a team of 31-strong from Tyndall’s 325th Medical Group to guide the unit forward.

“Three days after the storm the medical tent was stood up, it was acute care only; we are considered a role one facility right now,” said Capt. Heather Salyars, 325th MDG registered nurse. “If we were downrange and a life threatening injury were to come in we could sustain the life with trauma care and life flight them out.”

From the earliest days after the storm, the medical tent has been busy with 180 patients being seen to date.

“Work related injuries have been the most prevalent - trauma from working with tools and debris,” said Master Sgt. Amilia Almosara, 325th MDG independent duty medical technician and paramedic. 

The recent transition of the medical facility from a team of Airmen primarily from other installations to a Tyndall-based team was smooth and morale is high despite the hardships of a post hurricane environment.

“The scope of the damage didn’t really hit me right away because it was go-mode as soon as we landed,” said Almosara. “When we got here we took over immediately and the first rotation headed back to their bases. We don’t know how long we are going to be here, but we are considered deployed to our own base which is very strange, but our team is positive and in great spirits.”

Even with the transition from the tent to a hardened facility, the unit is still in a state of flux but they have carried on with the mission.

“Renovations of the primary 325th MDG building were underway before the hurricane and we were working out of this trailer complex, so the plan is to be in here for the immediate future, which is a big step up coming from the tent,” said Salyars. “For the near future, we will continue only seeing active duty patients for acute care due to our staff size and the current operations on Tyndall.”

The 325th MDG will continue to be a key contributor to the rebuilding effort.

“Day to day you can see the progress,” said Salyars. “It is unbelievable to see the changes across the installation and we take pride in being a part of that process.”