NEWS | April 10, 2021

Welcome Home for 70 medical professionals from year-long deployment

By Lt. Col. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Kentucky National Guard leadership joined friends and family to welcome home members of the 1163rd’s Medical Company Area Support unit from a year-long deployment in Poland at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington April 10th.

To see all the photos & video from the event, please click HERE.

Approximately 70 Soldiers from the 1163rd MCAS deployed to Powidz, Poland in June 2020 to support Operation Atlantic Resolve.  They provided expeditionary combat health services support and force health protection to forward rotational forces while working with the host nation and other partners to maintain interoperability and integration in the region. This included role 1 and role 2 care: basic triage, sick call, diagnostic lab and radiology services, dental treatment, behavioral health as well as routine medical readiness requirements.

Due to the ongoing worldwide response to COVID-19 when the unit arrived in Poland, much of their effort focused on providing support to the pandemic. The 1163rd was the first and only U.S.-run certified lab to conduct COVID-19 tests in the forward operational environment. Additionally, their location was designated as the COVID vaccine distribution hub for all U.S. Forces in the area.

Maj. Stephanie Fields commanded the 1163rd throughout the deployment and said the contribution from her team to the COVID support to the field was critical.

“Shortly after arriving in Poland our mission quickly became consumed with our COVID response. Much like the United States, we were dealing with COVID surges and saturated host nation health care facilities,” said Fields. “Additionally, restricted movements for all personnel impacted our supply chain management and living conditions made it very difficult to contain the spread of the virus once a Soldier became positive.

Our ability to stand up onsite testing so far forward was a significant milestone to protect the force and the operational environment.  This capability allowed for earlier detection and contact tracing to do be done within hours as opposed to days.  From the mechanic trying to get a generator part or the patient admin and provider trying to evacuate a decompensating Soldier, the 1163rd’s dynamic thinking and dedication to their company and mission success was invaluable.”

The 1163rd Medical Company (Area Support) MCAS is located in Shelbyville, Ky. Since the MCAS inception in 2002, the 1163rd has been activated multiple times to include tours to Operation Enduring Freedom in Uzbekistan/Afghanistan 2003-2004; Operation Iraqi Freedom in Camp Bucca Iraq 2008-2009; Operation Enduring Freedom in Bagram, Afghanistan 2015-2016; Joint Training Exercises in Antigua 2005; Domestic operation support includes Hurricane Katrina, 2005; Kentucky Ice Storm support 2009; and most recently, the unit was activated to support COVID 19 response in Kentucky working with multi-Agency Organizations including FEMA, Ky’s Department of Public Health, Ky Emergency Management and local medical communities to stand up the state’s first Alternate Care Field Hospital in Louisville with capabilities to care for 250 to 2,000 COVID positive patients.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Kentucky National Guard has mobilized more than 18,000 Service members in support of the Global War on Terror. The Kentucky National Guard is made up of approximately 7,500 Army and Air Guardsmen across the Commonwealth.

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