Saturday, December 25, 2010


The Last Soldier from the 909th Leaves the Sleep Tent
I can now announce that the 909th FST has left the FOB.  They have been replaced by the 1982nd FST, from upstate New York.  When the 1982nd arrived at FOB Shank a couple of weeks ago, the folks from the 909th moved out of the sleep tent to the transition tents.  Those of us who are the 90 day “boggers” (MDs and CRNAs) were able to remain in our hooches, since our time is not up yet.  The new guys have benefitted from the construction that the 909th left behind that makes each bunk a home with at least a little privacy.

During transition, there is a process called “left seat – right seat.”  After a tour of the facilities and the FOB, the different sections of the FSTs meet with their replacements to discuss the operation of the facility and the doctrine that has worked in the past.  When the first couple of casualties arrived, the 1982nd watched the 909th in action.  Then the process was reversed, and the 909th observed the 1982nd, just to give advice help with the location of supplies, etc.

The 1982nd has quickly adapted to life on the FOB, and will perform their duties well.  They are skilled providers of quality medical care, and have already begun saving lives.

The 909th will be missed.  During their year here, they have provided life saving services to more patients than any other FST in CENTCOM.  Their officers and NCOICs have provided incredible leadership with flexibility when appropriate and discipline when necessary.  The unit has endured harsh extremes of weather, and failure of infrastructure resulting in power outages.  They have treated patients from the FOB who had received injuries from indirect fire, only to experience repeated IDF during the surgical repairs of those injuries.  Many members came to Afghanistan as young men with little sense of direction or ambition in life.  Those same folks are leaving with life experiences that few will ever understand.  They have seen the death of soldiers that they have worked with every day.  They have had the incredible feeling of implementing the interventions that they have been trained to do and watching a fellow soldier survive because of what they did to save him.  Many of these men now have plans on attending medical school or becoming a nurse anesthetist.

An Empty Bunk - the 909th has Left the Building...
Having lived and worked with the members of the 909th, I can honestly say that this has been the best unit that I have ever been a part of in all 20 of my years in the Army.  My hat is off to MAJ Provenzano, DET SGT Biesiadecki, the officers, NCOICs and enlisted members of the unit.  I have made lifelong friends of many of you. 

To the members of the 1982nd, let’s “get this done!”  Here’s to a great year – and I hope you will come away with the same feelings as your predecessors.  You have large shoes to fill, but I’m sure, from what I’ve seen, that you are up to the challenge!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author only, and not necessarily of the US Army or the US Government.  None of the information given is classified in nature.  

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