As an independent duty medical technician deployed to Southwest Asia, I have always felt that I was never doing enough.
I’ve always wanted to go into Iraq or Afghanistan to be closer to the fight, to be the medic who is performing lifesaving care in the field.
However, more often than not, I’m dealing with someone who has a cold, sore muscles and joints, or an upset stomach. I’m sure that other Airmen in their respective career fields have had similar feelings of wanting to do more than their daily routine, but something recently occurred that made me see things in a new light.
A little more than a month ago, I attended my first fallen warrior ceremony for Staff Sgt. Bryan Berky, who died of wounds he sustained from enemy fire while engaged in combat operations.
As I was standing on the ramp, I remembered seeing his name before, either doing his personal health assessment or giving him predeployment shots. I began to think that, in a small way, I was involved in his being able to protect, defend and ultimately give his life for our country.
A few days later, I read a commentary submitted by an aircrew member in the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. The story explained that although the crew didn’t know it at the time, one of the targets they received while flying a sortie was to assist Berky’s ground unit when he was gravely wounded.
The moment I finished reading that story was when I realized that the tasks I thought were mundane were so much bigger in the grand scheme of things. As one of the IDMTs assigned to the 37th EBS, things I do, such as managing the “Go/No-Go” program for aircrew counter-fatigue, ensuring everyone is healthy enough to fly safely, or even giving a vaccination to prevent sickness, make an impact on getting the overall mission completed.
What I’ve come to discover is that we are all movers and shakers; one person’s small action will ultimately lead to a bigger action.
Everything we do is a little piece of the puzzle, but each of us only sees a small portion of it. No matter how seemingly big or small, every job is important.
We may not always be in the middle of all the action, but if you think about one thing you did today that affected or will affect another Airmen, Soldier, Sailor or Marine, no matter how big or small it was, you just played a part in making the mission happen.