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Wing takes lead in ARTIC CARE 2007
By Master Sgt. Patricia Hughes, 177FW/SGP; photos by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Opperman, 177FW/MG
TAG at Operation Jump Start

Its eleven thirty at night and we have got to get to bed; it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow. But the sun is still shining high in the sky. Alaska: land of the midnight sun
-where the sun really does hardly ever set.

For nearly two weeks, members of the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Group along with several other Air Guard and active duty Air Force providers participated in the Navy’s annual ARCTIC CARE 2007 mission.

The purpose of this deployment was two-fold. First, it was to provide critical cold weather training to medical personnel and second, to provide care to the Inupiat residents in the remote villages of the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska. This year’s goal was to provide 10 villages, each with a population of approximately 500 to 1,000 Inupiats, living just above the Arctic Circle, with medical, dental, optometric and health education. More important, this was a critical mission for 177th members because it is scheduled to be transitioned from a Navy to an Air National Guard mission in 2008.

The 177th medical team learned firsthand the importance of this dual purpose mission, where we were stationed in two different villages, Selawik and Noorvik. The team provided medical, dental, public health education and public health interventions while we were there.

Lt. Col. Robert DeSipio was the commander of the medical team deployed to Selawik. Selawik was one of two villages chosen to be visited by Pentagon, National Guard Bureau and Alaska National Guard leadership.

During those 10 very cold days (down to minus 41 degrees on one day) we saw approximately 200 to 300 medical and 100 to 200 dental patients. Every child in the village of Selawik had at least one public health presentation in a classroom setting.

All members of the medical team left changed by the experiences of meeting fellow Americans who were so appre¬ciative of our efforts. We felt that we had made a difference, by not only warming their hearts but ours in return.

Table of Contents
Volume 33 Number 2 Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs