AETC Surgeon General visits 49th MDG

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Isaiah Pedrazzini
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Both the 49th Medical Group and Holloman received a special visit from the Air Education and Training Command’s surgeon general, U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Grussendorf, April 13.

As the AETC surgeon general, Grussendorf oversees the 13 medical treatment facilities under the major command and more than 10,000 service members and civilians who provide healthcare to over 500,000 beneficiaries.

The purpose of his visit was to ensure that the medics of the 49th MDG are prepared for any deployments or tasks that may come in the future and interact with the Airmen there and see their capabilities firsthand.

“Medical readiness and making sure all of the Airmen here at Holloman are ready to deploy in a moment's notice is our primary concern,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Valerie Castle, 49th MDG commander. “Col. Grussendorf’s visit helps us advocate our mission so we can serve our partners in a way that makes them ready and capable of doing their mission.”

Grussendorf attended a safety and mission brief and toured through the many different health departments that the 49th MDG has to offer.

“During Col. Grussendorf's tour he spent time with most of our primary care clinics, our support services and the education and training unit which provides realistic simulation-based training for our medics,” said Castle. “His visit was important as he could see firsthand the amazing skills of all of our Airmen and understand the challenges that we have here so he can advocate for us at the higher levels.”

While Holloman's secluded location provides the perfect environment for training MQ-9 Reaper and F-16 Viper student pilots, it presents unique obstacles for the 49th MDG and its patients.

“Geographic access to specialty care is very difficult,” said Castle. “If you need to see a certain specialty, you may have to wait for a longer period of time than we'd like or travel a longer distance such as up to Albuquerque or over to Tucson which takes time away from the mission and time away from our patients.”

Grussendorf’s visit allows the 49th MDG to voice their concerns as well as introduce new solutions and ideas that would benefit their mission and Holloman’s mission as well.

“One of the main things that came out of this was us being able to establish not only relationships with our civilian counterparts down in the local community, but also leveraging the military medical service as a whole,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Mlia Clingan, 49th MDG acting senior enlisted leader. “Col. Grussendorf’s idea is to bridge the gap between the military health service and utilize personnel from places such as Fort Bliss or the local community to potentially come up to provide services here.”

The opportunity to interact with the higher levels helps not only demonstrate the 49th MDGs capabilities, but also to pave the way for future innovations that will provide the Holloman community with a better medical care environment.

“The community will appreciate the opportunity to receive health care in a timelier manner here at the 49th MDG and also be appreciative of the efforts that we're putting forth to improve access to better specialty care as well,” said Castle. “I think for most Airmen, their time is very valuable, and their families are very valuable, and if they can see and feel that we also value their time, their health and their families, it will make them feel more supported.”