Soldiers, Airmen participate in Angola MEDFLAG mission

The 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, the last MASH in the Army,
returned to Miesau Monday after a two-week mission in Angola – MEDFLAG.

A task force of 214 Airmen and Soldiers from the U.S. and Europe
deployed to Angola to give humanitarian assistance to the African
nation and training to their military.

During the first stage of this mission, 16 Soldiers from the 367th
Engineers and David Braidich from the Army Corps of Engineers,
installed a new water pump that doubled the water supply for the city
of Ambriz. As the engineers departed, the remainder of the task force
arrived and the surgical hospital was established and certified.  

According to Col. Angel L. Lugo, task force commander, the MASH also
conducted mass casualty response training with the Angolan military,
and then tested the training in an exercise. Twenty-five simulated
Angolan casualties arrived in 1.5 hours and Angolan military personnel
assisted with the care. Also, 250 of Angola’s leadership attended
national disaster response training, coordinated by Maj. Bob Gahol,
212th MASH.  

In the final stage of the mission teams provided care to the civilian
population of three towns in Angola: Ambriz, Capulo and Loge Grande.
Col. Lugo said to prepare for these missions, $200,000 of humanitarian
assistance medical equipment was given to each town’s clinics and then
the teams worked from dawn to dusk providing care.

In all, more than 1,700 patients were seen, dental teams 80, optometry
teams 409, and medical teams 1,354. The operating room at the MASH
performed 191 surgeries over a 4.5 day period, working nearly 24 hours
around the clock.

“To see a joint task force come together after a year of planning and
perform the mission is an impressive thing,” said Maj. Soo Lee Davis,
212th MASH executive officer. “It takes a team. We could not have done
it without our Air Force partners.”

The Angolans marked the beginning and end of the mission with a
ceremony, including a pass-in-review with a U.S. platoon led by Capt.
Frank Blake, marching alongside Angolan platoons. Also included in the
events of the weeks were a cultural day and a soccer game between
Soldiers of the task force and the Angolan Commandos.

“It wasn’t all work,” said Col. Lugo. “The Angolans were tremendous hosts.”
(Courtesy of 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital)