All-female Medical Evacuation Crew Makes History
(December 5, 2009)
|CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Dec. 1, 2009 – Four soldiers serving
here with the New Hampshire National Guard earned a special distinction last
week when they became their company's first all-female medical evacuation crew.|
In the three days before Thanksgiving, Capt. Trish Barker, Chief Warrant Officer
Andrea Galatian, Staff Sgt. Misty Seward and Sgt. Debra Lukan, of the Army's
3-238th Medevac, C Company, comprised one of the on-alert crews for Task Force
Keystone. Officials aren't sure how rare the all-female medevac crew is, but it
is a rarity the company is proud of.
|From left, Sgt. Debra Lukan, Capt. Trish
Barker, Staff Sgt. Misty Seward and Chief Warrant Officer Andrea
Galatian, of the Army's 3-238th Medevac, C company, became the
company's first all-female crew just before Thanksgiving. They are
serving in Iraq as part of Task Force Keystone.
"There must have been another all-female medevac crew somewhere, but I haven't
seen one," said Galatian, the crew's pilot. |
The odds are slim for such a crew to come up on rotation, said Army Maj. David
Mattimore, commander of C Company, 3-238th Medevac, from Hampton, N.H.
"It would not have been possible until one of our avionics sergeants became a
crew chief," he said.
That crew chief also is the newest name on the flight roster: Lukan, 43, of
Keene, N.H., enlisted following 9/11. "I just barely made the age cutoff," she
said of her age.
Lukan trained as an avionics mechanic and just recently switched from the shop
to flight crew. She deployed to Camp Speicher and Tikrit from 2005 to 2006 and
served in the avionics field. She's happy to be on the flight rotation this
time, she said.
"My family doesn't know I'm flying," she said. "They worry a lot, but I suppose
I'll have to tell them eventually."
In the civilian world, Lukan is a federal technician in avionics for the New
Hampshire National Guard.
Seward, 30, of Owosso, Mich., agreed with Galation on the uniqueness of the
crew. "Same for me," she said. "Never flew with an all-girl crew."
In fact, with a total of nine deployments among them and between eight and 12
years of service apiece, this still is a first-time experience for the entire
crew, Barker, the operations officer, said.
Seward enlisted in 1998 and has served as a medic for 11 years. She has four
years as a flight medic and seven on the ground. She deployed to Kuwait from
2001 to 2002 and to Baghdad from 2006 to 2007, both tours as a ground medic.
When she returns from her current tour, Seward will resume her job as a security
officer at a level-one trauma clinic in Lansing, Mich., part of Sparrow Health
Galatian enlisted in 1997 and served five years as an administrative clerk
before going to flight school in 2002. She has served seven years as a pilot,
including a deployment to Bosnia in 2005.
As a civilian, Galatian is the business analyst for the real estate division of
the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Barker, 30, enlisted in 1999 as an aircraft fueler. She went to Officer
Candidate School in 2003 and Flight School in 2004. A native of Menominee,
Mich., she was deployed to Bosnia in 2005 as a medevac section leader.
When she returns from this deployment, she will resume her job as the state
occupational health specialist for the Michigan Army National Guard.
"It may be months before this crew comes up in the rotation again," Mattimore
said. "We only have nine female flight crew members and everyone rotates to our
remote bases, so the odds of them being back together again are low."
Still, the crew is happy to have had the experience. "I'm glad we got a chance
to be first," Barker said, "even if it is just first for us."
Article and photo by Army Sgt. Neil Gussman
28th Combat Aviation Brigade, Multinational Division South Iraq, public affairs
American Forces Press Service
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