52nd Medical Support Squadron is more than needles

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 52nd Fighter Wing has more than 30 units assigned, working day in and day out to fulfill the mission of defending American and allied interests while building partnership capacity.

Throughout the year, 52nd FW Public Affairs will spotlight each of the wing's units, as together they serve a critical role in fulfilling this mission. This week's spotlight is on the 52nd Medical Support Squadron.

Needles in your arms, cups for who knows what, lab coats, latex gloves, microscopes, high tech analyzers and of course, the trained laboratory technicians; this is what makes up the 52nd Medical Support Squadron's laboratory on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. As your mind drifts back to that sharp needle, know that the laboratory is just a small part of this mission-essential squadron.

"Our mission is to provide world-class support and ancillary services to not only the 52nd Medical Group but Saber Nation as a whole," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Wade Adair, 52nd MDSS commander, from Lawton, Okla.

The 52nd MDSS consists of nine flights which contribute to the mission: laboratory, medical logistics, readiness, diagnostic imaging, pharmacy, TRICARE operations and patient administration , medical information services, personnel and administration, and resource management.

While all of the flights are considered crucial to everyday healthcare operations, the readiness flight and medical logistics flights contribute directly to the wing's disaster preparedness and deployment missions.

"The readiness flight ensures that all of us in are trained, equipped and prepared to deploy around the world, as well as support any home-station medical response for a disaster here or in the local area," Adair said. "The uniqueness here is we have multiple flights in our squadron that supports all of the 52nd Medical Group as well as the broader wing mission to support the human weapon system and overall war fighting capability."

The logistics flight is responsible for managing the War Reserves Material program in the 52nd MDSS warehouse.

"WRM works almost hand-in-hand with our medical readiness office to ensure we know who requires the supplies and the time frame they will need to have them," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Bishop, 52nd MDSS medical logistics technician from Fort Worth, Texas. "For example the medical readiness office could send our supplies to our deployed medics and make sure our Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear defense teams have the supplies needed to respond to a local disaster." 

Medical supplies and equipment go through the 52nd MDSS warehouses at Spangdahlem, before being distributed to the units in the 52nd MDG. The WRM supplies and equipment are primarily located at the MDSS warehouse in Zemmer, Germany.

Now back to the flight with the needles, the laboratory flight is responsible for collecting and analyzing patient specimens.

"As a laboratory technician, my job is to draw the patient's blood, take their specimens or samples and process them," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Faith Tate, 52nd MDSS, from Denver. "The samples people can provide are blood, urine, stool and throat cultures."

Without the results from the samples that the laboratory provides, the doctors would not be able to diagnose patients accurately.

"I feel like I am making a difference because without us there would be no diagnosis," Tate said.

All flights from the 52nd MDSS play a role in the support and care of service members on Spangdahlem from when they first arrive on station until their departure.

The squadron motto is 'foundation of care', and it is ingrained in everything that the 52nd MDSS does, explained Adair. The squadron is passionate about providing phenomenal customer service, impressing every single customer or patient that comes to the clinic and exceeding their expectations.

"In all nine flights that make up our squadron, we get to provide a diverse mission from patient care to ancillary support to medical support as a whole to all of Saber Nation and their families," Adair said.