Face of Defense: Mission Brings Father, Son Together

ARLINGTON, Va. — Long duty days far away from home can be tough. A chance to speak with or see a loved one often can offer relief from the stress­es of deploy­ment. Ask almost any sol­dier, sailor, air­man or Marine deployed over­seas, and they will tell you that fam­i­ly and friends are always on their mind.

C-17 Globemaster III
Air Force 1st Lt. Bri­an Myers, a C‑17 Globe­mas­ter III pilot, and his father, Air Force Col. Charles Myers, state air sur­geon for the Arkansas Nation­al Guard, pose for a pho­to after land­ing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 15, 2011. The father-and-son duo had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work along­side one anoth­er as part of the Air Nation­al Guard’s crit­i­cal care air trans­port team mis­sion.
Cour­tesy pho­to
Click to enlarge

For one Air Nation­al Guard father-and-son duo, the Air Guard’s crit­i­cal care air trans­port team mis­sion offered them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have this relief, if only for a moment.

“Hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cross paths with my son was just an added bonus to the mis­sion,” said Air Force Col. Charles Myers, state air sur­geon for the Arkansas Nation­al Guard. “It was great to be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the same mis­sion with some­one who had grown up with­in my own Guard fam­i­ly.”

Myers’ son, Air Force 1st Lt. Bri­an Myers, a C‑17 Globe­mas­ter III pilot with the Mis­sis­sip­pi Air Nation­al Guard’s 183rd Air­lift Squadron, flew some of the mis­sions in which his father had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate. The colonel said he was very proud to be work­ing with his son on such an amaz­ing mis­sion, even though the lieu­tenant spent time in-flight inside of the air­craft cock­pit.

“My son was about 5 or 6 years old when I first became involved with the Air Nation­al Guard,” said Colonel Myers, “so he kind of grew up with [the Guard].”

Lieu­tenant Myers said grow­ing up with his dad was the inspi­ra­tion and the dri­ve that moti­vat­ed him to join the Guard lat­er in life.

“I took my first fly­ing lessons in high school,” he said, “and I def­i­nite­ly knew that I want­ed to be in the mil­i­tary [and] knew about the Guard and the Guard fam­i­ly, so it real­ly influ­enced me when I was in col­lege to enlist.”

For Bri­an, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be a part of the crit­i­cal care air trans­port team mis­sion was a reward­ing expe­ri­ence, one that was only made bet­ter by work­ing with his father.

“I cer­tain­ly was hon­ored to be work­ing on the mis­sion with my dad, even though I was up in the front and he was in the back with the patients on board,” the C‑17 pilot said. “To be able to bring those wound­ed back is always a good feel­ing, but to do this with my dad was a great expe­ri­ence.”

Colonel Myers said the crit­i­cal care mis­sion is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Air Guard and its air­men.

“His­tor­i­cal­ly, the [Air Nation­al Guard] med­ical ser­vice has focused on the oper­a­tional mis­sion instead of spe­cial­ty care, so most physi­cians in the [Air Guard] don’t get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to prac­tice any­thing close to what their civil­ian spe­cial­ty is.

The Air Guard has many such spe­cial­ists, he added, so it’s able to pro­vide cer­tain spe­cial­ties for the crit­i­cal care air trans­port team mis­sion.

The crit­i­cal care teams aug­ment the reg­u­lar Air Force med­ical evac­u­a­tion mis­sion, which was designed to move sta­ble patients, the colonel explained.

“How­ev­er, in today’s world, we have those patients that have been sta­bi­lized, but are still crit­i­cal and still need to be moved,” he added. “So basi­cal­ly, it is an inten­sive care unit in the air.”

Each team has a physi­cian in a crit­i­cal-care spe­cial­ty, a crit­i­cal-care nurse and a res­pi­ra­to­ry tech­ni­cian who can take care of this type of patient, the colonel said.

“Some­times the duty hours can be long and the stress­es of the envi­ron­ment can be hard to han­dle,” he said, “but being able to do this for our wound­ed ser­vice mem­bers is very reward­ing.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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