BELIZE CITY, Belize - For many in the business of helping others,
if just one life is made better by their service, then all the
effort is well worth it.
U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Jason
Massengill, a urogynecologist who volunteered to deploy in support
of New Horizons Belize 2014, had the opportunity to better many
U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Jason Massengill,
New Horizons urogynecologist, center, performs surgery on a Belizean
woman with the assistance of U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Heather
Barbier, left, and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Erin Watson, right, June 9,
2014, in an operating room at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in
Belize City, Belize. A U.S. Air Force surgical team arrived in
Belize to spend two weeks conducting urogynecology procedures and
surgeries in coordination with the KHMH staff. More than 40 patients
were screened through the KHMH, and 22 procedures were completed
during this phase of the training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by
Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar)
New Horizons provides valuable training opportunities for
Belizean, Canadian and U.S. medical providers as they work
together to provide health care options for the Belizean
With 15 years in the Air Force and starting
in obstetrics and gynecology, Massengill decided to take a
different path in the medical field that ultimately led to
him being in Belize performing surgeries for patients in the
"I really enjoyed the surgery aspect much
more, and I always have," Massengill said of his transition
to urogynecology. "There are a lot of quality of life
improving surgeries in the field."
After two weeks in
Belize, Massengill played a part in many life-improving
"I volunteered to come here," said
Massengill, who has also deployed in support of New Horizons
Peru. "I think we're doing really good work, and I think all
the groups have done their part to improve the lives of the
patients we've come across."
Massengill, a native of
Anderson, Ind., said the best part about the trip has been
interacting with the patients and physicians, but he also
appreciated the opportunity to learn how an operation such
as New Horizons works.
"I think learning the inner
workings of a large exercise is invaluable," he revealed.
"We had a lot of communications with our liaisons in Belize,
and that's also increased our capabilities."
ago, Massengill made the decision to don the uniform and has
since spent countless hours learning and refining his craft.
"I initially joined the Air Force to pay for medical
school, and now I'm committed," he said. "I originally
signed up for four years, but I've enjoyed the Air Force and
have turned it into a career."
While his many members
of his wife's family are veterans, Massengill said, he is
the first person in his family to leave the state, let alone
the country. He lived in Japan, stationed at Misawa Air
"My family is very proud. They know this has
been a large commitment," he said, referring to his goal of
reaching retirement after 20 years in the Air Force. "We'll
see what the Air Force brings."
By U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kali Gradishar
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