435th AEW surgeon general office doesn’t skip a beat

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Madeline Herzog
  • 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The human heart is a critical element -- pumping blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells, and is absolutely needed in order to function and survive. 

Just as the heart is needed for the body to operate properly, the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Surgeon General office is an essential component to the medical units assigned to the 435th AEW throughout Africa.

“We may be just a support function, but we are an absolutely vital one,” said Capt. Christine Morshed, 435th AEW SG office lead and medical service corps officer.

Located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the SG office is made up of three Airmen who have oversight of all medical operations conducted within the 435th AEW’s units to include purchasing and supplying materiels, managing personnel and providing maintenance to ensure all the equipment is up-to-date and serviceable.

“You can put medics in the field all day, but they can’t do their jobs or provide health and safety to Airmen without the proper supplies and equipment,” said Tech. Sgt. Alicia Bertoch, 435th AEW SG office flight chief and medical logistics technician. 

Medics in the field will order supplies, then Bertoch receives them from the U.S. Army Medical Materiel  Center-Europe, repackages it in the warehouse and hands it off to the travel management office to ship to Africa. Supplies are shipped to Bertoch first because she has the ability to send packages directly to the units faster utilizing the military aircraft located at Ramstein AB. 

In addition to supply and logistics, the SG team services all equipment and provides readiness capabilities for personnel deploying and redeploying to the continent.

“My role is to be the medical liaison for our bases downrange and the wing. I’m the main medical resource that my people can reach out to,” said Morshed. “I help posture our 42 medical personnel and make sure everyone has the medical equipment, basic gear and medication that’s needed downrange.”

The SG office was created in 2019, and Morshed’s team is the third rotation for the deployment. Before the office was created, Airmen in Africa had a difficult time finding who to reach out to when they needed supplies and equipment or had general questions. 

“I think the reason our office is so important, for example, is when COVID-19 first hit Africa, we were able to send COVID testing equipment, personal protective equipment and life-saving ventilators faster downrange than they used to without this office,” said Morshed. “My number one priority is to take care of our people, and make sure they are safe and have everything they need to execute the mission.”

One of the 435th AEW’s main priorities is taking care of Airmen and their families; the work the three SG Airmen accomplish directly supports that priority, ensuring the mission stays alive.