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Air Force health services management career field named 2021 Chief Richard L. Etchberger award winner

  • Published
  • By Sadie Daugherty
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

For the second year in a row, an Air Force Medical Service career field is bringing home the esteemed Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger award.

This year, the award has been granted to the health services management career field, also known as 4A0s among medics, for their dedication and hard work from the battlefield to the clinic.

This annual Department of the Air Force award, named after Medal of Honor recipient Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger, recognizes the selfless service of Airmen in an enlisted career field.

Airmen in the health services management career field are in administrative roles that ensure the medical mission succeeds. They play a critical role in leading operations in one of the nation’s largest health care systems.

“Our mantra is ‘in demand and indispensable,’” said Chief Master Sgt. Tyrone McDougald, the Health Services Management career field manager, Air Force Medical Readiness Agency. “This career field is diverse and you can find 4A0s working everywhere - medical clinics, aeromedical evacuation, resource management - you name it, we’re there.”

These highly skilled professionals provide oversight that enables medical personnel to focus on providing the highest quality of care, including scheduling patients, managing records, ordering supplies and repairing sophisticated medical equipment. They also play integral roles in making the aeromedical evacuation mission a success. They coordinate and confirm patient movement requests, and help prepare for a seamless transfer to the medical facilities.

Staff Sgt. Donaisha Campbell, Uniform Business Office Manager,1st Special Operations Healthcare Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, said her experience supporting aeromedical evacuations was a highlight of her career and helped her see the role the career field plays while working in a fast-paced environment.

“During one mission while I was deployed to Saudi Arabia, the nurses and technicians were working through the chaos and they were able to smoothly communicate the information to me so we could begin evacuation,” said Campbell. “It was imperative I paid attention to detail when completing documents. This situation opened my eyes on how a 4A0 ties into the Air Force’s mission. Without us, the patient wouldn’t make it out of theater to receive the treatment they need.”

As with many other career fields, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of challenges that the health services management Airmen have had to overcome.

“Our Airmen had to adopt new processes when it came to data collection,” said Tech. Sgt. Paul Fox, noncommissioned officer in charge, Medical Readiness, 341st Medical Group, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. “Many service members were receiving care from off-base providers and we had to collect test results and notes from those facilities to ensure duties in-field could be resumed.”

Health services management Airmen have proven resilient and adaptable, facing all challenges head on. Without the framework they oversee, patient care at a high standard would be impossible.

“The footprint that health services management Airmen have in providing first-class medical administrative support really stands out,” said McDougald. “I am incredibly proud of the Airmen that make up of this career field and everything they do for our medics, patients and the AFMS mission.”