Medical Group sergeant awarded Bronze Star
by Senior Airman Megan P. Lyon
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
9/18/2007 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- A sergeant with the 366th Medical Group was awarded a Bronze Star Medal here Sept. 12 for actions during a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
Tech. Sgt. Kevin D. Andert, 366th Medical Support Squadron, volunteered to deploy as part of a medical maintenance management team last summer to Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul and surrounding area to maintain medical equipment for the entire country.
"Sergeant Andert achieved an unbelievable number of accomplishments in a harsh and challenging environment," said Col. Jerrold N. Flyer, 366th Medical Group commander. "His hard work was publicly recognized by the Afghanistan Minister of Public Health, Dr. Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimi."
When Sergeant Andert arrived in Afghanistan, it was discovered that many of the equipment sites outside of Kabul were still under construction.
"After seeing how much work still had to be done on the facilities, it was decided to focus on different aspects of the job. My teammate took on equipment maintenance and I focused on the facilities," said Sergeant Andert.
During the year, Sergeant Andert helped open a refurbished 17 building, 400-bed hospital complex in Kabul and traveled to providences outside of Kabul to help build new medical facilities and improve the medical capabilities for the Afghan people. He helped open several new 50-bed hospitals in Gardez, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif. The smaller hospitals were complete with two operating rooms, isolation rooms and a modern emergency room.
The opening of the hospital was not without problems. Poor utilities, a myriad of medical equipment from different counties and cultural differences were just some of the obstacles faced.
"One of the biggest challenges we faced was training people on new technology," said Sergeant Andert. "The engineers over there are really well-trained with the older Russian equipment, but unfamiliar with new medical technologies."
In addition, Minister Fatimi signed an agreement allowing the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and civilians to be seen at the hospital in Gardez and Kabul.
"His efforts bolstered medical care for more then 70,000 members of the Afghan National Army and National Police," said Colonel Flyer. "It also brought about improved medical care to more than two million Afghan civilians."
"The most amazing thing about the entire time I was in Afghanistan was the people," said Sergeant Andert. "Whether they were natives or contracted from another country, they were so full of pride about their jobs."
The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any service member for bravery, acts of merit or meritorious service. http://www.mountainhome.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123068639