720th Special Tactics Group opens new Battlefield Airman Clinic

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFSOC News Service) -- The 720th Special Tactics Group recently cut the ribbon on a brand new medical clinic designed to better serve the unique physical needs of Battlefield Airmen. 

Maj. Gen. Don Wurster, Air Force Special Operations Command, vice commander, officially opened the new Battlefield Airman Clinic envisioned more than a year ago and completed entirely as a self help project by 720th STG medical staff with the help of many advanced skills training and tactical air control party students. 

"Due to the nature of training our special operators go through, injuries are common," said Maj. Tom Waters, 720th STG physician assistant. "And medical visits for these injuries, as well as other illnesses, can have a serious impact on their training." 

The clinic, collocated in the dormitory area where special tactics and TAC-P Airmen live, provides early intervention, close monitoring of training techniques and physical exam status as well as the convenience of being within close proximity to training and living facilities. 

"We are very proud of our clinic," said Col. Ken Rodriguez, former commander of the 720th STG. "It was truly a team Hurlburt effort that will enhance the performance of our warfighters and keep them healthy while they go through some difficult training." 

Ten dormitory rooms were stripped of old carpet and renovated with new tile floors, paint and improved lighting to meet health care standards. The clinic is completely outfitted with medical furniture, equipment, supplies and a state-of-the-art remote pharmacy system for convenient, on-site dispensing of medication. 

"The opportunity we have here is to help people with rehabilitation and physical therapy before they get seriously injured," said General Wurster. "Our special operators and TAC-P students have different needs and different injuries that require different focus and perspective and this clinic will offer just that." 

The clinic, which started seeing patients in April, has had more than 700 patient visits. These visits include primary care, acute injuries, dehydration, heat exhaustion and more.
"Care of these elite athletes will improve athletic performance, reduce injury rates, reduce time lost from training and duties and improve graduation rates from the training pipeline," Major Waters said. "This will in turn increase the number of deployable battlefield airmen available to support the current operations tempo."