Keesler Medics Deploy To Support War - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/24/05

Keesler Medics Deploy To Support War

Medics from Keesler Air Force base are headed overseas to support the war effort. They'll spend the next few months in Germany, helping treat soldiers wounded in combat.

Family and friends said their good byes as members of the 81st Medical Group prepared to leave Wednesday morning.

They'll soon face the personal tragedies of war; treating wounded soldiers.

"When patients are brought from the war front to one of the major hospitals, obviously they come in on aircraft. And what we do is we get them from the aircraft to the hospital," said Perry Carlson.

This is the first deployment for Stephanie Cox. The medical tech enjoyed her remaining moments as mother and wife.

"We have Emily. She's my little baby. And this is Timothy, he's at Beauvoir School. And this is my sweet husband of seven years, Ken," she said, introducing her family.

Her husband admits he'll miss her greatly.

"Yeah, it's going to be tough. I'm going to miss her. But I know she's going to Germany, so for me it feels more safe," said Ken Cox.

Aside from the family separation, facing the unexpected is among the challenges of this mission. Medical personnel are accustomed to treating injured patients, but caring for the war wounded is different.

"I know we'll be seeing a lot of injured young people, our peers, that are like severely injured and kind of disfigured and stuff like that. I think that will be hard to deal with. But I guess we'll see once we get there," said nurse, Jennifer Hale.

They savored the good byes while keeping in mind the mission ahead: Sharing care and compassion with the war wounded.

Charles Shoemake is ready.

"I've been a medic for over 20 years and I've seen a lot of things, so dealing with war wounded, it will be a little stressful, yes. But it's nothing I can't handle," he explained.

The medics should be home by Christmas.

Members of the 81st Medical Group have been training for this mission over the past several weeks. Those briefings include hearing and learning from other medical personnel who've already experienced treating the war wounded.

By Steve Phillips 

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