DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg, Surgeon General of the Air Force and Space Force, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dawn Kolczynski, Medical Enlisted Force and Enlisted Corps Chief, Office of the Surgeon General, visited the 355th Medical Group Desert Medics and its COVID-19 cell at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, March 31, 2021.
“What brought us out to Davis-Monthan today was to see the great things that our medics are doing and to make sure that they are taking care of one another,” Hogg said. “I’m always worried about my own medics’ resiliency and needed to get eyes on them to make sure that they are doing okay.”
Hogg and Kolczynski participated in a group walking tour of the clinic, visiting each of the different clinics and hearing first-hand from the Airmen that work in each section, who deliver trusted care to all they serve at DM.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to say thank you for all of the hard work that they have done and to find out from their perspective if there is anything we can do to help them,” said Kolczynski.
Airmen from each section briefly discussed their duties, as well as how each section has optimized their processes in the face of COVID-19. One of the programs that impressed Hogg was the Continuous Medical Readiness program, or CMR, capability that they have implemented.
“The CMR capability is a one stop shop for all active duty in keeping up their individual medical readiness requirements,” Hogg said. “They are conducting more face-to-face periodic health assessments as opposed to computerized physical health assessments which I think is incredibly important. It saves not only the Airmen time, but the units’ time, and it gets all Airmen fully mission capable in a short amount of time.”
CMR has been crucial in keeping Airmen mission ready despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented.
“Another thing I think they have done incredibly well is their COVID response,” Hogg said. “Their handling of testing and contact tracing has been phenomenal, and how they have enlisted the support of the entire DM team. This is not just a medical fight.”
The 355th MDG Airmen have been operating a drive-thru surveillance testing station, managing a COVID-19 call center, providing vaccinations at the base theatre, and deploying to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Defense Support to Civil Authorities to treat and vaccinate the public against COVID-19.
This left 355th MDG positions vacant, and DM Airmen from different units stepped up and volunteered to fill these vacant positions to keep the mission going.
“Their partnership across the base is huge,” Kolczynski said. “We talk about making partnerships everywhere we go, but they have really fostered that relationship here at DM.”
One example, the 355th MDG’s Satellite Pharmacy where volunteer Airmen from across the base were and still are assisting pharmacy technicians with checking in customers and handing them their prescriptions.
“They truly are badgers. They have taken this challenge, met it head on, and have done it with incredible resiliency and have set the example for some of our other facilities on how to handle multiple challenges at one time,” Hogg said. “I am going to take back some of what they have done and see how I can incorporate that across the entire Air Force Medical Service.”
The Desert Medics are continuously adapting, improving and finding new ways to keep Davis-Monthan Airmen medically fit to fight in spite of COVID-19.