Forty-six Rochester-based New York Army National Guard Soldiers who are deploying to Afghanistan were honored at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
The mission of the unit is to provide helicopter medical support to the U.S. and her allies on the ground in Afghanistan. The 45 soldiers will extract the wounded from the battlefield and get them to the next level of care.
The soldiers will first head to Fort Bliss, Texas for refresher training for about a month, then will be in Afghanistan for approximately ten months.
Major Jeffery Kneer went into detail on the mission of the MEDEVAC team, and what their prior training entailed to get them qualified, and sets above other military medical teams.
He says, “They extract them from the point of injury, or wherever they need to be transported from. There is an en route care paramedic that is in the back, which differentiates MEDEVAC from CASEVAC. There’s a nationally registered paramedic in the back that’s trained to conduct different tasks that a regular Army medic cannot do. They go through a more detailed oriented training that last 48 weeks to become a registered paramedic. What they are capable of doing does save lives on the battlefield.”
For those prepping to leave, it’s something they never quite get used to. For one soldier, this is his third deployment overseas.
“As my family gets older, it always gets a bit harder,” SFC Stephen Tschiderer tells us. “My sons understand that dad’s going to be gone, dad’s going to war, but they are not quite old enough to comprehend what war is. It’s a lot of very fun emotional conversations.”
Major Kneer says deploying always affects soldiers in various ways depending on their circumstances. “It’s different for everyone. This is my first deployment away from having kids… I think once you have children, and more responsibilities, it affects people differently.”