374 MDOS first squadron activated in AF

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Leslie Claravall
  • 374th Medical Operations Squadron commander
Here's a piece of Air Force trivia for you. What medical squadron was the first to be activated in the Air Force? As you might have guessed, it is the 374th Medical Operations Squadron right here.

Established in October 1992, 374 MDOS was part of an objective hospital test to organize the Air Force medical groups along a standard wing format.

With the conclusion of the test in October 1994 and the reorganization of all Air Force medical groups, the 374 MDOS was formally activated making our squadron the oldest medical squadron in the Air Force by two years.

In fact, the squadron patch itself bears the words First in the Air Force.

As a Nurse Corps officer taking command for the very first time nearly two years ago, I was filled with nervous energy.

Also, as the lone rookie commander in the medical group, I felt a bit intimidated but ready to begin "the best job I'll ever have', as so often told to new commanders.

With just two more months left before I relinquish command, you may be wondering if this was the best job I've ever had and I have to say it was.

So, what made this job the best? That's easy ... the people!

It's been an honor serving with a motivated team of professionals who collectively provide a first class health benefit to our base population.

My hat's off to Team MDOS who medically clear Yokota's officer and enlisted Airmen so they can deploy in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom or humanitarian missions.

As part of the medical team here, I would like to thank the people who do preventive screening to promote a longer and better quality of life; who perform surgeries and rehabilitation to restore health and function; who deliver babies and make the moments special; who cover the welfare of pediatric to geriatric patients 24/7 on the inpatient unit; who are first responders or are on call to save lives.

I would also like to recognize those who immunize and screen children for a healthy future; who offer specialty care such as ear, nose and throat or dermatology; who avail life skills services to cope with life's stresses; who conduct Family Advocacy outreach to meet family and community needs; who perform drug testing and execute helping programs to deter or reverse substance abuse; and who are poised to deploy or have deployed at a moment's notice, for the job of a medic is to minimize injuries and save lives.

Talk about a diverse squadron who are often behind the scenes, quietly promoting a healthy combat force.

In my eyes, they are indeed everyday unsung heroes. So I'm thrilled I have this opportunity to thank 374 MDOS publicly for what they do on a daily basis.

There have been times when it's been tough convincing my Airmen that they make a difference in this wing, particularly the ones who haven't been afforded the opportunity to deploy.

However, I tell them that planes wouldn't be taking off from Yokota, the largest airlift hub in the Western Pacific region, if it weren't for an MDOS member medically clearing those who fly the planes. Every job in the wing is uniquely important to the mission, so take pride in what you do.

I will certainly miss the times we had at the squadron commander's call, the slide shows and the battle cries of "Who's the Boss?" ... MDOS and "We bust ours" ... To save yours. In closing, I want to share a statement made by Army Command Sgt. Maj. William Gainey, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"You haven't lived, until you've almost died. By the same token, no one appreciates freedom more than those who defend it," he said.

To the men and women of the 374 MDOS, I appreciate your role in defending the freedom of our country. I salute you.