News: Medic takes flight
Story by Capt. Chad Ashe
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Army Sgt. Jason Daniels, a native of Sand Rock, Ala., and flight medic assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, has played a key role in Task Force Knighthawk’s medical evacuation program.
According to his supervisors, Daniels embodies the skill-set necessary to be an aviation flight medic – a key component to Task Force Knighthawk’s medevac success during Operation Enduring Freedom XII-XIII under Task Force Falcon.
When asked why he chose to become a flight medic, Daniels said, “There is no other occupation for him because this is by far the most rewarding job in the Army, and I am honored to have the opportunity to make a difference.”
Daniels enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in 2004 to establish himself in a profession that would make his family proud and to serve his country. Three years later, he made the decision to enlist active duty. He has been saving the lives of Afghan National Security Forces and local national civilians during his current tour in Afghanistan with Task Force Knighthawk.
“There is a lot of history in Army medevac and it is amazing to see how far we have come with patient treatment,” said Daniels. “I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
The patient treatment Daniels is referring to is the “Vampire” program. According to Maj. Jason Jones, commander, C Company, the administration of packed red blood cells on board medevac helicopters is not new to trauma medicine, but the far-forward use of PRBCs, potentially within minutes of injury, is definitely on the leading edge of pre-hospital care. Jones says that pre-hospital use of blood as fluid therapy in trauma is not yet proven to change the patient’s outcome.
Daniels, who works with the blood program, also works as one of the medical training noncommissioned officers charged with teaching junior flight medics from the task force. Earlier this year, he was crucial to the Kandahar Air Wing flight medic training that certified the KAW flight medics on in-flight care. Task Force Knighthawk certified Afghan air force flight medics and instructors to sustain the program.
"Afghan medics now have the mental skill set and knowledge to facilitate a transition from coalition-provided health care to health care provided by their own,” said Daniels. “The Afghan medics have been very receptive toward the instruction that was provided because of their willingness to learn and take care of their own."
Army 1st Sgt. Jay Shearer is Daniels’ company first sergeant. He says Daniels' performance over the past nine months has been nothing short of phenomenal. Shearer goes further to say that not only has Daniels’ vast knowledge benefited Regional Commands South and Southwest, but also the Afghan National Security Forces.
“His instruction of the blood program has expanded the knowledge of the Afghan flight medics and has paved the way forward for Afghanistan and their healthcare system,” said Shearer.
Daniels’ accomplishments and achievements include the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and Combat Medical Badge. He was also selected as noncommissioned officer of the month for March.