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Wilford Hall medics depart for scheduled deployment to Iraq

By 2nd Lt. David Herndon | 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 11, 2007

Lackland Air Force Base, Texas — More than 60 Airmen from the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall Medical Center departed Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 9 for their scheduled rotation in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

According to a 59th Medical Wing spokesperson, the Airmen's deployment was not in response to President George W. Bush's new war strategy in Iraq. Instead, this deployment was the first of the year for 59th Medical Wing medics, mobilizing medical personnel to the Air Force Theater Hospital at Balad Air Base, Iraq, to relieve wing personnel already there.

The 59th Medical Wing expects to deploy nearly 230 Airmen for Air Expeditionary Force Cycle 5 and 6 and will continue to be the primary staffer of the Balad AB hospital. The rotation is slated to last a total of four months.

Since September 2004, more than 2,800 Wilford Hall medics have deployed from San Antonio to staff the hospital, providing the highest level of specialty health care to a war zone.

Medics from Wilford Hall will be attached to the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group in Iraq. The group is composed of nearly 300 staff members.

The Air Force Theater Hospital possesses specialties in everything from anesthesia, nutritional medicine and ophthalmology to ankle plastic surgery, physical therapy and emergency medicine. It serves as equivalent to a Level One trauma center, providing medical care to military, civilian, Iraqi Army and police, Iraqi civilians, Iraqi children and insurgents.

In a typical month, the hospital sees more than 650 emergency room patients and performs more than 450 surgeries.