An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

New York ANG medics train at California clinic

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jocelyn Tuller,
  • 109th Air Wing/Public Affairs

Seventeen Air National Guard Airmen from New York’s 109th Airlift Wing spent two weeks in California providing free medical, dental and veterinary care at the Round Valley Indian Health Center.

The Airmen from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, participated in a Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training Mission.

IRT missions enable military personnel to practice military skills while helping fellow Americans. They can involve engineering work, assisting local government with cybersecurity, or medical care.

Seventy service members from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Reserves were also part of the mission, June 12-25. They received 2,457 hours of hands-on training in medical, dental and veterinary specialties while serving more than 500 patients with care valued at over $150,000, according to the mission commander.

“It was an amazing opportunity to provide health care at no cost to communities that welcome us while also getting mission-essential training,” said Capt. David Falcon, the officer in charge of the 109th Airlift Wing members.

The Round Valley Indian Health Center serves 3,000 people in the village of Covelo and the Round Valley Indian Reservation.

Navy Cmdr. Jordan Buzzell, the officer in charge of the Navy Reserve’s 4th Dental Battalion, said the mission worked well because the clinic provided the needed equipment.

“This created a unique situation for this IRT mission because we did not have to bring any equipment, which enabled us to hit the ground running instantly to provide immediate patient care,” Buzzell said.

The medical personnel could also work at the veterinary clinic to get firsthand experience in that field.

“I had the opportunity to work with animals in the medical field, which was an eye-opening experience I would usually never be able to do in my regular profession,” said Master Sgt. Jessica Corrigan, a critical care specialist.

Rose Abono, medical clinic manager, said many of the patients had not been to the doctor in years.

“Covelo is a very rural community located an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital or other medical care,” Abono said. “We applied for the U.S. military to come assist with medical, dental and veterinary services because our community is so rural there is a huge lack of employment, high poverty level and uninsured families. The community was very grateful for all the services.”