Alabama Medical Detachment Will Serve Unique Mission In Afghanis - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Alabama Medical Detachment Will Serve Unique Mission In Afghanistan

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

"I'm ready to go," declared Dr. Brad Fields.

Ready to go, ready to carry out a mission in the rugged terrains of Afghanistan. Dr. Brad Fields, a Montgomery veterinarian will make sure the military animals such as dogs are in tip-top shape to carry out their mission on the front lines. 

"We do routine healthcare, routine exams and surgical care," Fields said.

The kind of dogs we're talking about are those who sniff out bombs such as roadside bombs and guard dogs, canines like German Shepherds and Labs.

"They mirror the injuries we see on the human side, heat exhaustion and fatigue," he said.

Even the military mules need care.

"They're often used to pack supplies that need to be carried up the mountains," Fields said.

Dr. Fields is part of the 358th medical detachment out of Tuskegee. The group consists of 20 veterinarians from all over the country and Fields is one of only 3 in Alabama.

They'll not only treat and care for military animals but also make sure the food supply is safe. The 358th is one of only 8 units of its kind in the Army reserves.

Dr. Fields sees his mission as so much more than just treating military animals. In a way his medical expertise will help protect lives.

"We're treating people in an indirect way. A lot of these animals are going in before the soldiers go into harm's way," said Dr. Fields.

According to the good doctor coalition fatalities have dropped 25% in the last year since more and more military animals have been put into service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The 358th leaves Tuskegee for Afghanistan on August 22 and won't be back until September 2011.

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