Full-time flight surgeon revives medical readiness

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alexa Culbert
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
Reforming the organization is a strategic priority, and for the 434th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, adding a full-time doctor not only reformed but revitalized the unit.

Col. (Dr.) Bill Bray, came on board about 10 months ago and began treating some of Grissom’s biggest problems – stacks of medical readiness items.

“Traditional reserve physicians would walk into a backlog of work and in some cases would spend a lot of time dealing with the immediate workload…and the long term cases often got pushed further and further down,” Bray said. “It was hard for someone who was only here two days a month to get their arms around a complicated medical case, especially when the hallways were full of customers.”

The value of having a full-time physician has made an impression.

"Having the presence of a full-time provider on base has been a game changer," said Col. Thom Pemberton, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. "The skill level of Doc Bray is nothing but value added."

Since returning, Bray said he and his team have improved individual medical readiness rates, pushed fitness-for-duty packages, increased the wing’s overall medical readiness and are taking better care of Airmen, including the medical providers themselves.

“My being here [full time] has allowed me to tackle the longer-term and day-to-day issues that come up throughout the month, and our providers can come in and do some of the care they need to keep themselves proficient and now our doctors are better trained for deployment,” he said.

While Bray is ready and available every day, he urged Airmen to keep their medical and health needs in check.

“Maintain good physical and mental wellness and don’t let physical or behavioral health symptoms fester; get them addressed early,” Bray said. “Our number one goal here is to protect the Airmen from harm.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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