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    Kansas Guard activates new medical company

    Kansas Guard activates new medical company

    Photo By Sgt. Michael Steed | Wichita, KS – Soldiers of the Kansas Army National Guard’s 117th Medical Company...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Josef Leo 

    105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    WICHITA, Kan. – The Kansas Army National Guard has welcomed in a new unit to its ranks. The 117th Medical Company Area Support unit was activated during a ceremony held at the Heartland Preparedness Center in Wichita, Kansas, Nov. 2. The 117th MCAS is a diversified medical unit that brings together providers, dentists, doctors and other medical personnel into one unit as a way to meet the growing needs of the Kansas Army National Guard.

    Maj. Judee Cordell, a native of Winchester, Kansas, was selected as the first commander of the 117th. Cordell commissioned through the Kansas University, Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2007 and from 2011 to 2019 she served as a nurse case manager for the KSARNG Medical Detachment in Lenexa, Kansas. In her civilian life, she also serves as a nurse practitioner at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

    “I am absolutely honored to be selected as the first commander of the 117th,” said Cordell.“ I get to essentially start this unit and determine where it goes from here.”

    “Cordell was the right commander at the right time,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, commander of the Kansas National Guard.“What an opportunity for a commander to have as their first command, to also stand up a unit for the very first time in a state.. So, we all have expectations for her and a tremendous amount of responsibility. She has the experience and passion required to be a successful commander.”

    The mission of the 117th is to provide health protection for KSARNG units including medical treatment and evacuation in a deployed environment. This is the first unit of its kind in Kansas with an ultimate goal of becoming a medical asset to the local community.
    “What this does for the KSARNG is it fills a critical piece of the force structure puzzle for where we need to be in the future,” said Tafanelli.
    The 117th is made up of approximately 70 Soldiers who volunteered to be part of the new medical unit. For many of them this is a once in a career opportunity to build a unit from the ground up. These Soldiers have the honor of laying down the foundation of the unit’s future history that they will collectively be a part of.
    Staff Sgt. Jamie Baxter, a platoon sergeant for the treatment platoon of the 117th, was one of the volunteers who chose to be apart of the unit. With over 21 years of military service as a combat medic, Baxter will lend her experience and knowledge to help guide Soldiers within the MCAS.

    “I had just taken a position at division and was kind of conflicted to jump ship and take this position but its such an exciting and new opportunity,” said Baxter. “ Who gets to be a part of history in this way and be an impactful mentor to young Soldiers and officers alike?”
    Some of the challenges of a self sufficient unit includes maintaining equipment, supplies, and human resources. It will take more than medical personnel to insure the unit functions smoothly. Not only did medical personnel volunteer, many others such as mechanics, cooks, and admin Soldiers volunteered. Sgt. Collins Adams a light wheel mechanic from Wichita is one of those Soldiers.
    “With several vehicles and a few mechanics we need to focus on priority,” said Adams. “I want to give a basic [preventive maintenance checks and services] course to show its something to not slack off on.”
    Wichita was chosen as the station for the 117th as the city has a variety of medical capability outside the military and it gives the medical civilian personnel the option of joining the KSARNG.
    “I am here to serve you and train us to where we need to be,” said Cordell. “Very excited for this opportunity and look forward to the future.”



    Date Taken: 11.02.2019
    Date Posted: 11.06.2019 11:29
    Story ID: 350682
    Location: WICHITA, KS, US 
    Hometown: WICHITA, KS, US

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