Hurlburt Field, Fla. --
The 1st Special Operations Support Squadron’s operational medicine flight has come a long way since its creation two years ago by Air Force Special Operations Command.
Before the operational medicine flights were implemented on Hurlburt Field, flying squadrons could only rely on the medical group to have their medical needs met. This caused AFSOC to rethink how their fliers received medical treatment.
AFSOC took concepts from medical flights in fighter squadrons and other operational units throughout the Air Force and created the 1st SOSS operational medicine flight, with the sole purpose of serving all of Hurlburt’s flying squadrons.
The flight embedded an element made up of a surgeon and two medics in each squadron. Squadrons like the 4th Special Operations Squadron and 8th Special Operations Squadron each have their own medical office where patients can be seen and treated.
“While it has been done in other places, Hurlburt is the first place that’s taken [operational medicine elements] and put them in each of the flying squadrons, and continued with it to where we’re not just doing basic medical care,” said Master Sgt. Travis Pope, 1st SOSS flight superintendent.
The 1st SOSS medics can handle immediate medical care needs, primary care, prescribe medication and screen Air Commandos before they deploy.
Capt. Pete Lennox, 1st SOSS flight surgeon, says he sees many Airmen throughout the day as he has an open-door policy at the 15th Special Operations Squadron.
“I think they love it because I am one door down from their office,” he said. “They can just walk down and see if I’m there to ask a question rather than go all the way to the medical group.”
Operational medical personnel also deploy with their assigned squadrons to continue medical care downrange.
“It helps to have their familiar medic with them,” said Pope. “It makes them feel comfortable to continue going to those medics downrange because they’ve built that relationship.”
The 1st SOSS medicine flight enables Hurlburt Field’s mission to keep going as they make medical care available any time the flying squadrons need it.