Nominate a Female Military Physician for a 2012 Leadership Award

MilitaryConnection.com focuses on healthcare.  We salute Military Physicians.   They are some of the best doctors in the world.  Military Medicine is leading edge and military healthcare professionals walk on water.   If you are seeking physicians for your health system, hospital or practice, contact us to help you (info@localhost).

Debbie Gregory
CEO, MilitaryConnection.com

Nominate a Female Military Physician for a 2012 Leadership Award

Don’t miss the chance to recognize inspiring female physicians for their leadership and military service.

The nomination process is underway for the 2012 “Building Stronger Female Physician Leaders in the Military Health System” awards program.   Now in its third year, the program aims to raise the profile of women in medicine and to identify role models to lead and inspire the next generation of female physicians.

Kl Last year, six military doctors were honored for their accomplishments.  The senior award winner, Army Col. (Dr.) Kelly Murray holds a Bronze Star with a “V” device for valor and is commander of the Fort Polk, La.-based Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital.  Following a ceremony in Jan. 2011, to accept her award, Murray took the opportunity to share recognition with her colleagues.

“The award is not about me, it’s about my team and my people – they are the ones who make me look good because they do such a good job everyday taking care of soldiers, families and retirees. I am accepting the award but … it is their award,” Murray said.

Now is the chance to nominate the next group of female physicians from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Public Health Service (PHS) and Coast Guard to receive this honor in January, 2012 by submitting nomination forms to service points of contact (POCs) as follows:

Public Health Service:  PublicHealthService_awardPOC@tma.osd.mil
Army:  Army_awardPOC@TMA.osd.mil
Air Force: AirForce_awardPOC@TMA.osd.mil
Coast Guard:  CoastGuard_awardPOC@TMA.osd.mil
Navy:  Navy_awardPOC@TMA.osd.mil

 Be sure to allow enough time for the POC’s to collect all nominations, vet them through their chains of command and deliver them to Rebecca Russell, the award POC, by the deadline on midnight Oct. 28, 2011.

To learn more about selection criteria and submission rules, download the Female_Leaders_Nomination_Form and background information.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer awarded Medal of Honor for his heroism

MilitaryConnection.com congratulates American Hero and Medal of Honor Awardee Sgt. Dakota Meyer for his heroism.

On Sept. 8, 2009, approximately 15 kilometers south into the Ganjgal Village, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, Embedded Training Team (ETT) 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7 joined together with elements of 1st Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 201st Corps of Afghan National Army (ANA) and 2nd Kandak of the Afghan Border Police (ABP) for a joint operation to conduct a key leader engagement with village elders to discuss security development plans. Marine ETT advisers were allocated in groups of four to pair with ANA/ABP forces. At the time, Sergeant (then-Corporal) Dakota L. Meyer was serving with his four-man ETT including 1st. Lt. Michael Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, and Petty Officer Third Class James Layton. The joint operation unit was organized into four elements: an observation post, a quick reaction force (QRF), a dismounted patrol and a security element at the objective rally point (ORP). Meyer was tasked to the security element at the ORP while his ETT team, now joined by Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson, served as the forward element of the joint operation unit.

The joint operation unit, consisting of American Soldiers, Marines and ANA/ABP forces, dismounted at the ORP, leaving behind the vehicles with Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez and Cpl. Meyer. From his position, Cpl. Meyer watched the patrol make way to the village on foot. As they approached, the lights in the village went out and the patrol was ambushed at approximately 0530 by more than 50 insurgents in well-fortified positions along a premeditated one-kilometer-long, U-shaped kill zone within Ganjgal Village and from the mountains above Ganjgal Valley.

The American Soldiers, Marines and ANA/ABP forces took cover, returned fire and made multiple attempts to call for artillery and air support. Meyer was instructed to remain at his post at the ORP. The forward element, his ETT, had been pinned down at their position and encircled by enemy fire. As casualties mounted, the joint operation unit remained pinned down without support for two hours. Upon listening to 1st. Lt. Johnson yell over the radio, “If [you] don’t give me this air support, we are going to die out here,” Meyer requested permission to enter the kill-zone and was denied the four times he asked. After four denials, he took it upon himself to leave his relatively safe location at the ORP. Meyer mounted a gun truck with Rodriguez-Chavez as the driver.

With contact to the forward element lost, Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez drove the kilometer of the ‘kill zone’ and entered into the heaviest zone of fire, without the aid of supporting arms, in order to aid wounded American Soldiers, Marines and ANA/ABP forces. The two Marines became the focus of enemy fire, as a barrage of mortars, rocket-propelled-grenades (RPGs), machine gun and small arms fire were sent their way.

Without hesitation, Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez evacuated wounded, provided essential aid and recovered bodies of the joint operation unit taking them back to the casualty collection point (CCP), then ventured back into the kill-zone four more times, still in search of the forward element.

Upon reentry, Rodriguez-Chavez warned Meyer that they may get stuck in the rough terrain ahead. In spite of this risk, Meyer remained steadfast, remarking, “I guess we’ll die with them.” As forward movement resumed, the two continued to be the target of attack by the enemy. Rodriguez-Chavez maneuvered the HMMWV while Meyer staved off the enemy with effective fire atop the turret. An artillery malfunction forced the two Marines to return to the ORP to swap vehicles for a working heavy machine gun. Along the route back, more wounded were discovered, retrieved and transported to safety. In the course of the exchange, Meyer sustained a laceration to his arm from RPG and mortar fire, but it would not deter him.

Still in search of his ETT, Meyer led a fifth and final charge back into the kill-zone accompanied by Marine 1st. Lt. Ademola Fabayo and Army Capt. William Swenson. Air support finally came hours into the fire fight in the form of a UH-60 helicopter providing much needed cover. The PARARESCUEMEN aboard the helicopter informed Meyer of spotting what appeared to be four bodies. Meyer dismounted the HMMWV and ran to the identified location. Even with the helicopter keeping an eye on him from above, Meyer was in a riskier position now than he would have been if he had stayed close to the vehicles with other members of his group. He was out in front of the group, moving near buildings and terrain and drawing a high volume of enemy fire. Meyer, disregarding continuing small arms and RPG mortar machine gun fire, ran into the direction of the helicopter until he came upon the four lifeless bodies of the four missing Marine advisors – his ETT. Moving out of the ditch, across the danger zone, he transported the bodies with the assistance of Swenson and the ABP commander.

Over the course of a six-hour fire-fight, without regard for his own personal safety, Meyer entered the kill zone five separate times to evacuate the wounded, provide essential aid and, ultimately, saved the lives of 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers in addition to 23 Afghan soldiers. Meyer personally killed at least eight Taliban insurgents, while providing cover for his team to fight their way out and escape certain death.

Still after all his valiant effort, Meyer does not consider himself a hero. “The heroes are the men and women still serving,” he said.

For his actions on Sept. 8, 2009, his selfless valor that day in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Services, Sgt. Dakota L. Meyer has earned the distinguished recognition of being awarded the Medal of Honor.

Patricia Wheeler’s 9/11 Memory

My husband and I found out about the attacks about 15 minutes before leaving for my mother-in-laws funeral. After the funeral, most of the day was a mix of trying to honor my mother-in-law and watching the news. We also were waiting to hear from some friends that were stationed at the Pentegon, but it took almost a week before we found out they were okay.

Patricia Wheeler
(former Marine)

David’s 9/11 Memory

I was at my parent’s house in Ohio watching the news on television with my mother when I saw on the news what at first looked like an “accident” of a plane hitting the first tower. I then actually watch the second plane hit the second tower live on the news and I immediately perceived that it was not an “accident”. I knew that there were people who did not like the United States, but why this? It was hard to add up what was going on.

David

Laura’s 9/11 Memory

I arrived at RadioShack Corporation at 8:15a to welcome the three financial analysts and to facilitate their meetings with our CFO, CEO and President. Their meetings started at 8:00a with the President of RadioShack, so when news came of the first airplane hitting the towers, we were curious. When the second plane hit minutes later, someone in New York contacted the analysts and warned them to reserve a rental car back to New York, which was immediately arranged. I checked with their office in NYC to make sure there was not something else we could do and I conveyed my thoughts and prayers.

The analysts continued with their meetings while those of us not in meetings gathered in the Investor Relations office around the only television on the executive floor. We watched in horror as the buildings fell. The NYSE floor trader called a few minutes later to say trading was halted. I conveyed my thoughts and prayers to him. A few minutes later, I talked with our NYSE representative who told me the Exchange was closing and she was heading home. I was barely able to hold my emotions in check as I told her we would be praying for her and everyone else in NYC. Then the plane hit the Pentagon. As a former military brat, I knew we were under attack. My immediate thought was, “Shut down the borders, bring home the troops and lock this place up against any intruders.”

Our analysts showed the most control as they completed their meetings and left to pick up their rental car. They had lost many friends when the towers fell, but their offices were not housed in the WTC. One of our bond analysts died in the WTC collapse. She had been something of a maverick and had left an indelible impression on all who knew her. I later learned that one of my high school alumni died in the Pentagon.

That evening was eerily silent in my home near the DFW airport. The shock was wearing off and I realized our country would never be the same.

By 2003, our NYSE representative had two children and then retired. I left the corporate world then as well.

Laura S.

Dick Winter’s 9/11 Memory

I was working the 7-3 shift at work when we heard that bombs had gone off in the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon. later we learned that planes had been crashed into these buildings and that there were an undetermined number of casualties. In any case, i stopped my forklift in sight of everyone and said a short prayer for everyone involved, including the hijackers.

Dick Winter
formerly US Navy submariner

Joseph Cinadr’s 9/11 Memory

On 9-11-01, I was the National President of the League of Postmasters and was representing our members at a Board of Governors meeting held at Postal Headquarters in Washington DC. The meeting was on the 11th floor of L’enfant Plaza and I was seated next to the window with a view of the Pentagon. Shortly after the first tower was struck, postal inspectors interrupted the meeting to notify us of the “accident”. They came back after the second tower was struck and notified us it was no longer an accident. After the Pentagon was struck, the postal inspectors notified us we were in the next tallest building in that part of Washington and advised us to leave immediately. I could see smoke billowing from the Pentagon as we exited.

I left and drove by the Pentagon on my way back to League headquarters in Alexandria. As I viewed the mushroom shaped cloud of smoke over the Pentagon, I remember praying that I was dreaming all this.

Joseph W. Cinadr

Carter Overton’s 9/11 Memory

I had just arrived at my job in Shreveport when I heard the news about the attack. It was so hard to work that day. The shock and horror of what transpired was consuming. When I got home that evening, I was transfixed to the TV and thinking about what people were going through. I started to write my thoughts but it came out more like a poem than anything else. This was unusual because I don’t keep a journal or write poems. I guess the last poem I wrote was in elementary school. But like I said the tragedy had consumed me like it had most Americans. Anyway, it only took about half an hour, except for a tweaking here and there (at first we thought it was about 6000 people). I shared it with my sister-in-law who attached a night view picture of the twin towers with the statue of liberty showing in between them and made a bookmark for me. What happened was unimaginable and I pray it never happens again.

Carter Z. Overton
Virginia Beach, VA

L Gudell’s 9/11 Memory

The morning of the attacks I was in Milwaukee spending my last day with my family I was due to arrive at Navy Bootcamp on 9/12 my recruiter picked me up and took me to MEPS where we were told our country was under attack and did not have to proceed… On 9/13 I made the 2hr drive to bootcamp and eventually became a cryptologist.

CTR3 L. Gudell

Survivor Supports Families in Wake of 9/11

Bonnie Carroll is a dear friend and an amazing woman.  Bonnie has helped so many going through the most difficult days of their lives.   We were honored to have Bonnie as a keynote speaker at a prior 9/11 Freedom Program and Walk at the Reagan Library.  I want to share an article with her experiences on 9/11 on our profiles.  Let us all remember the families of our heroes and fallen.

Please support TAPS – www.taps.org

Debbie Gregory
CEO, MilitaryConnection.com

Survivor Supports Families in Wake of 9/11

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2011 – It’s been a decade since American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, but Bonnie Carroll vividly recalls the aftermath.

As a family-support volunteer, she spent hours “listening and sharing” with families who were waiting to be notified about a missing loved one.

Carroll, president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, was among a team of volunteers who responded in the wake of the devastating terrorist attack that took 184 lives at the Pentagon.

That day “changed everything about the world in which we live,” she said. “It gave every American an appreciation of those on the front line protecting freedom — a renewed sense of appreciation.”

Carroll was at home in Anchorage, Alaska, when the news broke about the terrorist attacks here and in New York, and she immediately felt compelled to help — both as an Air Force reservist and as the president of TAPS. She had founded this organization to offer support to survivors of fallen military loved ones after her husband, Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, died in an Army C-12 plane crash in 1992.

In her reserve capacity, she was assigned to the Pentagon’s office of national security and emergency preparedness and had just wrapped up reserve duty there and returned home. But when she heard the news, she put on her uniform and was on the first plane out of Alaska.

Carroll put a call out to her TAPS peer mentors to come to Washington at their own expense to help. More than 200 responded in a “tremendous response,” she said. She arranged to have them serve six to 10 at a time in weeklong shifts offering 24/7 support to family members in the Pentagon Family Assistance Center at Crystal City’s Sheraton Hotel in Virginia.

The center opened the morning of Sept. 12 and remained open around the clock until Oct. 12, helping both Defense Department victims’ families and families of the passengers aboard Flight 77. Along with TAPS volunteers, the center was staffed by military community and family policy specialists, plus thousands of volunteers.

“We had folks who were surviving family members there to just be a comfort, to sit and hold hands,” Carroll said. “We had really, really tremendous people who stepped forward.

“It was just beautiful,” she added. “So much healing took place in that little closed environment. So much love and care and support, and the bonds that were formed exist to this day.”

To avoid burnout, Carroll scheduled the volunteers in one-week blocks so the peer mentors and survivor support team were “alert, fresh and ready,” she said.

“A big part of the effort … was providing tremendous care to those 500 families at center, but also care to our team members who also were survivors,” she noted.

The organization also brought in grief and trauma experts from around the nation. “We were focused on getting the best, most appropriate support in place that would complement the support provided by the DOD,” she said.

In time and as reports rolled in, Carroll said, the atmosphere of hope shifted into a time of solace and support.

Twice a day, she recalled, now-retired Army Gen. John A. Van Alstyne, then deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, briefed the families and take their questions.

The general offered families a fact-based, sometimes graphic briefing, and on some days, asked everyone to stand up and sing “God Bless America,” Carroll said. And then “he would remind everyone to breathe. People didn’t realize they were holding their breath.”

Carroll said the general often remarked, “Regardless of their job — whether a contractor, DOD civilian or military member — the day of their death, they were on duty for America.”
Carroll vividly recalls the family members she met and their reactions in the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon.

She remembers standing in the hall with Pat Hogan, an Air Force doctor who lost her Army major husband in the Pentagon. They were talking, when then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Erik K. Shinseki and his wife, Patricia, walked up.

Carroll said Hogan looked Shinseki in the eye — just days after her husband had been killed — and said, “I have no children; I have no husband. Nothing is holding me back. I want to transfer to the Army and I want to go to the front lines.”

“I would have thought he would have patted her on the head and told her to take time to grieve,” Carroll said, choking up. “But he said, ‘You got it.'”

However, the Air Force chief of staff at the time, now-retired Gen. John P. Jumper, got wind of the conversation and asked her to stay in the Air Force. He said he’d send her with pararescue personnel to Afghanistan so she could serve as their doctor.

“She left soon after,” Carroll said. “She’s amazing.”

Carroll also recalls the Hemingway family from Kansas, who lost their son, a father of two.

“They hung in there all day every day for six weeks,” she said, “and then they were the last family to be told that nothing of their son could be identified. There was nothing found.”

After six weeks, the support center closed down, Carroll said, but TAPS volunteers continued to support the families of the fallen — the same mission that continues today. The organization’s support includes peer-based emotional support, a 24/7 help line, support groups, seminars and one-on-one counseling.

In turn, many of the 9/11 surviving family members became staunch supporters of TAPS, she said. Lisa Dolan, whose Navy husband died in the Pentagon, started a therapy dog program for TAPS’ Good Grief Camp, which offers support to children of fallen service members.

Another survivor, Joyce Johnson, who lost her husband, works for TAPS as part of the adult survivor support team, which reaches out to those with newly lost loved ones.

Their contributions speak to their resilience, she said, as well as the resilience of the nation.

This year marks a decade since the tragedy occurred, but Carroll said Americans are reminded of the attacks every day.

“Every time we go through airport security or see a flag-draped coffin on the front page of the paper, every time we hear about security concerns,” she said, “we’re reminded of where this journey began and the precious nature of our freedom and the fragile world in which we live.”