VFW Magazine March 2011 : Page 18

haven’t seen one,” said Galatian, the crew’s pilot. C Company’s commander, Capt. David Mattimore, said it wouldn’t have been possible if Lukan, an avionics sergeant, had not become a crew chief. Lukan, 43, also is the newest name on the flight roster. She enlisted following Sept. 11.“I just barely made the age cut-off,” she said. Lukan trained as an avionics mechan-ic but switched from the shop to flight crew. She deployed to Camp Speicher and Tikrit, Iraq, from 2005-06. “My family doesn’t know I’m flying,” she told GX: The Guard Experience mag-azine. “They worry a lot, but I suppose I’ll have to tell them eventually.” Lukan is an avionics technician for the New Hampshire National Guard. Seward, 30, of Owosso,Mich., agreed Sgt. Debra Lukan, Capt. Trish Barker, Staff Sgt Misty Seward and Chief Warrant Officer Andrea Galatian comprise their National Guard unit’s first all-female medical evacuation crew for C Company, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment. 7 rorist attacks on the U.S., Navy Lt. Tracy Bilski was one of only three women to deploy to Afghanistan in November 2001. As a trauma surgeon, she was attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marines were charged with establishing the first U.S. forward oper-ating base, Camp Rhino, about 90 miles southwest of Kandahar. “Thankfully, we only had two major incidents where [the hospital] took a lot of casualties [Marines],”Bilski said.“We used everything.We used our drinking water and were able to get them off the base quickly … we just didn’t have the resources to keep them.” Civilians also were treated. Bilski recalled a little girl, Riyam Shihan, whose skull was crushed after a door fell on her. When Shihan arrived at Camp Al Taqaddum surgical facility, her condition deteriorated quickly. In the early hours of Oct. 14,an uncon-scious Shihan was flown to a higher level hospital. The medical staff that worked so hard to stabilize her doubted she would survive the required surgery, much less walk and talk again. 18 • VFW • March 2011 “Even when the Marines took off, we weren’t sure if she would make it,”Bilski said. When Shihan walked back into the hospital a month later and asked for strawberry bubble gum, surgeons and corpsmen were amazed. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Bilksi, who burst into tears upon seeing the little girl. Today, Bilski is a surgeon with Mary Washington Healthcare in Virginia. National Guard: Evac Crew In November 2009, four women serving with the New Hampshire ArmyNational Guard became their company’s first all-female medical evacuation crew. Capt. Trish Barker, Chief Warrant Officer Andrea Galatian, Staff Sgt.Misty Seward and Sgt. Debra Lukan of C Co., 3rd Bn., 238th Avn. Regt., 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 distinction the company is proud of. “There must have been another all-female Medevac crew somewhere, but I with Galatian on the uniqueness of the crew. “Same for me,” she said. “Never flew with an all-girl crew.” 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 2001-02 and to Baghdad from 2006-07, both tours as a ground medic. When she returned from the tour, Seward resumed her job as a security officer at a level-one trauma clinic in Lansing,Mich. 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, includ-ing 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 air-craft fueler. She went to Officer Candidate School in 2003 and Flight School in 2004.A native ofMenominee, Mich., she was deployed to Bosnia in 2005 as a medevac section leader. When Barker returned from the deployment, she resumed her job as the state occupational health specialist for the Michigan ArmyNational Guard. Whether or not they were a first, the group says they are happy to have had this experience. “I’m glad we got a chance to be first,” Barker said, “even if it is just first for us.” 7 E-mail jblankenship@vfw.org PHOTO BY SGT. NEIL GUSSMAN / COURTESY GX MAGAZINE

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