CHICAGO, IL (07/11/2017) (readMedia)-- Approximately 20 Soldiers from the Illinois Army National Guard's 710th Area Support Medical Company based in North Riverside, Illinois, returned, July 8 to July 11, from a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operations Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support.
The Army sent the unit home in small groups, with the majority arriving in Chicago over the weekend. Among the last to return to Illinois was the unit's commander, Maj. Alhaja Giwi Falana of Chicago, who arrived today, July 11.
The unit deployed with 19 organic personnel, but upon arrival to theater the unit was augmented with personnel from the United States Air Force, Active Duty Army and 10 NATO Coalition countries resulting in a unit of over 120 personnel to support five locations throughout Afghanistan and one location in Qatar.
"The 710 ASMC's creativeness and attention-to-detail enabled the unit to develop future medical capabilities related to routine, trauma and emergency medical care," said Maj. Giwa Falana. "The 710th ASMC has successfully led Soldiers while in combat and has effectively developed future leaders from around the world."
The 710th ASMC was responsible for the health care of more than 12,000 U.S., NATO, and Coalition Soldiers from 55 countries, as well as contractors with proper approval for care. The 710th ASMC also provided first aid, immediate life saving measures and triage to more than 2,500 personnel.
The 710th ASMC's dental team, at Bagram's Craig Joint Theater Hospital (CJTH), was responsible for the dental treatment of more than 1,000 U.S. and NATO Coalition Servicemembers from approximately 27 countries and 40 states. The dental team contributed to emergency care in over 10 trauma cases at CJTH. Operating beyond their normal scope and practice on multiple occasions, the dental team provided lab support for ophthalmologists to adjust prosthetic eyes for Afghan Soldiers and coordinated care for the Combat Stress Department to assist multiple Soldiers with potential mental health issues, facilitated blood donations, and provided dental coverage for outlying forward operating bases throughout Afghanistan.
The 710th ASMC also provided more than 21,000 influenza vaccinations to U.S. and NATO forces resulting in increased force health protection. In addition, the unit established the first ever National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians accredited Tactical Combat Casualty Care training/certification program in Afghanistan for U.S, and NATO Coalition Servicemembers. This course resulted in the certification of more than 600 Servicemembers.
The 710th Soldiers received more than 70 awards, including the Non-Article 5 NATO Medal and one Bronze Star Medal. The Soldiers of the 710th hail from communities in Illinois ranging from Chicago, Romeoville, Yorkville, Morris, Homewood, Morris, Oak Forest, Frankfort, Arlington Heights, Park Ridge and Carpentersville.
Requests for interviews with 710th Soldiers must be coordinated through the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office. Photos and video of the 710th Soldiers returning to Illinois at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this weekend are available at these links:
For more information, contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at 217-761-3569 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cutline 1: Heathcliff Fykes, 1st Sgt. of the 710th Area Support Medical Company, is welcomed home by a group of service members and civilians after getting off of a plane, July 8, 2017, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago native and his troops returned home safely after a long deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Justin Malone, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Cutline 2: Soldiers, from the 710th Area Support Medical Company, exit a plane as they finally end their deployment to Afghanistan, July 8, 2017, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The service members were given a warm welcome by a group of spectators as they made their way through a crowd. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Justin Malone, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Cutline 3: Staff Sgt. Michael Looze, a health care specialist with the 710th Area Support Medical Company, embraces his family after a long deployment to Afghanistan on July 8, 2017, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Justin Malone, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)