Medics work their magic with U.S. troops

U.S. Gen. David Petraeus shakes the hand of Grand Junction native Sgt. Joshua Pearson, right, during a visit by Petraeus in Afghanistan earlier this year.



QUICKREAD

Mission by the numbers

Since arriving in Afghanistan in February, the Montrose National Guard 928th Area Support Medical Company as of June 1 has cared for 13,000 patients and completed:

1,500 X-rays and CAT scans

1,700 MEDEVAC missions

2,000 lab exams

  300 dental exams

  200 mental health exams



MONTROSE — The Witch Doctors are strong, effective and safe, Maj. Andrew Pollart said Thursday when he updated Montrose community leaders about the 85 members of the Montrose National Guard 928th Area Support Medical Company.

The 928 ASMC, also known as the Witch Doctors or Mile High Medics, is nearing the midpoint of its deployment in Afghanistan and is expected to return stateside in early February. The unit has suffered no combat-related injuries during its mission and is stationed in four locations: two near the capital of Kabul; Bagram Air Force base, north of Kabul; and a forward operating base in the southern province of Khost.

Pollart said more than half of the unit’s members are serving at the two Kabul locations.

The unit, which consists of doctors, nurses, physician assistants, medics and emergency medical technicians, has been treating U.S. and NATO soldiers for everything from mild sickness to combat injuries.

Since the unit arrived in the country in early February, the 928 ASMC has cared for more than 13,000 patients, most of them soldiers. The unit also treats and cares for the local residents, who normally have no access to health care, he said.

Pollart delivered his report to members of the Montrose County administration, Montrose City Council and other civic leaders who posed the question: How can we help?

“No more Girl Scout cookies,” Pollart responded jokingly.

Pollart said thank-you letters and banners are the best way to show support. He said military personnel on missions often display banners made by schoolchildren and return them through the mail.

“This is a great way for the community to connect with them,” Pollart said.

For Western Slope residents who want to connect with the unit 7,000 miles away, donations and information can be found through the Grand Junction National Guard Family Program office at 482 28 Road in Grand Junction or by calling 250-5542.

The unit is based in Denver and Montrose, with members coming from many Western Slope communities, such as Rifle, Grand Junction, Montrose, Delta, Hotchkiss and Austin.

Sgt. Joshua Pearson, a Grand Junction native and member of the 928 ASMC, met the top U.S. commander for the region, Gen. David Petraeus, earlier this year at one of the Kabul locations.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a soldier to shake hands with a four-star general,” Pollart said.


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