Flight commander credits team for Bronze Star Medal

Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy, 60th Medical Group, poses with members of the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Flight in front a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, during a deployment October 2017 to May 2018.  (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy, 60th Medical Group, poses with members of the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Flight in front a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, during a deployment October 2017 to May 2018. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy, 60th Medical Group, and Col. Walter "Sparky" Matthews, Craig Joint Theater Hospital commander, stand near the Warriror’s Way sign at the hospital’s entrance in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, with Staff Sgt. Jefonda Smith, 81st Medical Group; Master Sgt. John Cardenas and Senior Airman Jacob Bigari, 60th MDG; and d Senior Airman Bryan Hix, 81st MDG. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy, 60th Medical Group, and Col. Walter "Sparky" Matthews, Craig Joint Theater Hospital commander, stand near the Warriror’s Way sign at the hospital’s entrance in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, with Staff Sgt. Jefonda Smith, 81st Medical Group; Master Sgt. John Cardenas and Senior Airman Jacob Bigari, 60th MDG; and d Senior Airman Bryan Hix, 81st MDG. (Courtesy photo)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Lt. Col. Patrick Kennedy, 60th Medical Group Lab and Pathology Flight commander at Travis Air Force Base, California, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement while deployed to Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from October 2017 to May 2018. He credits the medal to his team.

 “I was very fortunate to have the people I had,” said Kennedy. “They came up with the ideas; my job was to make sure we put them in place.” 

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces for heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement or meritorious service in a combat zone.

Although the hospital did not suffer any direct hits during his deployment, it was targeted two to five times per month.  The enemy’s goal was to reduce the number of military members returning to duty, said Kennedy. 

While assigned as the Diagnostics and Therapeutics Flight commander with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Kennedy and his team not only increased efficiency at the hospital, they also helped increase patient survival rates from 98 percent to 99.23 percent. 

According to the citation, Kennedy’s expertise was particularly evident in the lab where he improved diagnostic capability, lab results and quality assurance. 

“The doctors in the trauma bay would give us a syringe of blood and we would analyze the basic chemistry so the doctors could determine a course of treatment,” said Kennedy. 

“But over time, there was no quality control over the system. We implemented a program to make sure the equipment was properly maintained and calibrated so we could be confident in the results.”   

Kennedy also collaborated with Master Sgt. John Cardenas, 60th MDG lab technician and flight chief during the deployment, to develop a form that reduced the amount of paperwork and time needed to request blood products.

The team also revised the mass transfusion protocol, which reduced the time between the surgeon’s request for blood and the blood being delivered to the operating room. 

The previous MTP required the person picking up the blood to jointly inspect the trauma package with the lab technician, sign for it and rush it to the operating room.

“We changed the MTP so two lab techs could certify blood type and the number of units ahead of time so, when the surgeon requested blood, the technician only had to sign for it and go,” said Cardenas. “This cut the delivery time from 12 to 15 minutes to 3.5 minutes, which is huge when a patient is bleeding out.”

Another change standardized the ratio of blood components in the trauma packs based on U.S. hospital standards. 

“By communicating directly with the provider, we cut blood waste loss by 75 percent, saving about $84,000 per year and increasing the amount of blood available to the multinational task force,” said Kennedy.

CJTH is a Role III combat medical hospital providing care to U.S. and coalition forces, U.S. contractors and Afghan soldiers and civilians injured as a direct result of combat operations. The hospital is staffed and equipped to provide resuscitation, initial wound surgery, damage control surgery and post-operative treatment. 

“Now that the U.S. mission is basically training and advising, most of our patients were Afghan special forces members and civilians,” said Kennedy. 

His flight was composed of 16 Air Force members, including five other Airmen from the 60th MDG at Travis: Master Sgt. Will Weisenburg and Senior Airman Justin Ritzel, diagnostic imaging; Tech Sgt. Rob Thomas, pharmacy technician; Senior Airman Jacob Bigari, lab technician; and Tech Sgt. Dwayne Salmon, nutritional medicine.  

“I wouldn’t have been as successful without these guys,” said Kennedy. 

For example, he credited Salmon with reinstating a clear liquid diet for patients and introducing Afghan-specific foods to the menu for the first time in 17 years.  

Nutrition is essential to patients regaining their strength, said Salmon, who was responsible for both staff and patient diets. 

“Colonel Kennedy got the ball rolling by asking the right questions and setting up meetings with the (U.S.) Army logistics officer,” he said. “We also met with the food services chief to discuss options for patient meals because the Afghans didn’t like our food.”

Kennedy credited Thomas with implementing an allergy alert system to flag patients in the pharmacy computers and Bigari with implementing the first in theater use of the U.S. Army’s Safe Access File Exchange – an encrypted website – to send test results to forward operating bases. Previously, the lab mailed results, which could take up to six weeks for delivery.

“I had the advantage of being the lab director at David Grant USAF Medical Center we were named the (international) Medical Laboratory of the Year in 2017, so the administration accepted our changes,” said Kennedy. 

For instance, U.S. Central Command is in the process of adopting the revised blood request form and the units in Kandahar, Afghanistan, have instituted the allergy alert system as a best practice initiative, said Kennedy.

 “Sometimes you get the right synergy when all the pieces come together,” he said. “I was fortunate in that aspect. Our people were focused on the mission: ‘We are here to save lives. ’”    



Social Media

Facebook Twitter
#TeamTravis, as we enter wildfire season you may have seen news reports about PG&E Public Safety Shutoffs. Public Safety Shutoffs are preemptive/deliberate power outages during high heat, low humidity and high wind periods where the fire risk due to a downed power line is high. Currently, Travis AFB has been categorized as a Tier 1 fire risk, which is the most unlikely tier to be de-energized due to fire risk and we are currently NOT expecting to be affected by a public safety power shutoff. Should we receive a notification from PG&E of a public safety power shutoff we will provide notifications via AdHoc (PLEASE make sure you've updated your information on the new system) and Balfour Beatty's "One Call Now" service. Informally, we will also post our Facebook and Twitter (@Travis60AMW) feeds. Thank you and #NoBounds!
"It hasn’t always been this easy. I grew up in small-town east Texas and enlisted in the United States Air Force when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was alive and well. For many years, I experienced a great deal of societal pressure to quell a fundamental part of myself in order to succeed. As a young Airman, I never felt completely relaxed, almost as if I had to keep looking over my shoulder, and the paranoia of losing my career–my livelihood–prohibited me from fully engaging with my new Air Force family. I don’t need to tell you about how deeply loneliness and feelings of alienation can affect a person. It ultimately led me to self-report suicidal ideations because I couldn’t find a way to reconcile being a service member and being gay. If it wasn’t for the few allies who believed I belonged in the our Air Force, despite my identity, I’m not sure where I’d be. Those leaders carried me through my turbulent, formative years until I was able to finally breathe. Though throughout that time I made my fair share of mistakes, and certainly gave my supervisor some unique challenges, I was gifted with the opportunity to show the Air Force my cards as an 11-month formal investigation into my sexual identity was terminated following the complete repeal of DADT. On September 20, 2011, I skipped throughout my building high-fiving everyone I saw without saying a word as to why. I have been high-fiving as many Airmen I can every September 20th since then. It’s my own special holiday. I had won… but what was I to do with myself now? The universe had given me a chance to become a whole new Airman and I decided that I wasn’t going to waste it. Since then, I’ve strived to be the best Airman I can be. I volunteered to serve as a Military Training Instructor, I’ve helped organize several military Pride month events, and I’ve sincerely tried to live up to our Core Values. The freedom to be who I am has given me the freedom to fly, fight, and win. I will never forget, nor be able to completely thank, all of the people who helped get me here. However, more importantly, I will never stop advocating for the importance of diversity and acceptance in our Air Force because I know what both sides of that spectrum can do to a person. Pride month isn’t about celebrating individual preferences. It’s about celebrating inclusiveness and how when we practice it, it makes us all better versions of ourselves. We are a mightier Air Force when we show our Pride." —Tech. Sgt. Shannon Ouimet-Amaro, 60th Air Mobility Wing executive assistant to the command chief #HumansOfTravis #LoveIsLove #Pride2019 #🏳️‍🌈
Travis leadership: Happy #NationalDoughnutDay, #TeamTravis! Can't wait to finally have that Dunkin' on base, huh? The rest of base:
Martinez-native Jake Larson was only 21 when he stormed Omaha Beach on #DDay. Back then, his unit had a motto: “To the last man.” Now, 75 years later, Jake is the last man—the last surviving member of that unit, and if becoming so has passed to him a single nugget of wisdom, it’s this: “Freedom isn’t free.” Read more about Jake’s revisiting of Omaha Beach in the article below.
The events of #DDay were a testament to the strength and resolve of this nation. For those who survived the invasion, Omaha Beach represents both a reminder of those they’ve lost and a promise to preserve their memory. With the help of virtual reality, join them as they recount the events of that fateful day. #BecauseOfThem
75 years ago, the U.S. military, along with other Allied nations, enacted one of the most ambitious amphibian assaults in history. Today, we celebrate the courage and sacrifice of the service members who invaded Normandy on #DDay, and whose actions still stand as one of the most impressive rebukes of evil in human memory. #BecauseOfThem
Sometimes the best part of the #TravisLife is what's (literally) beneath our feet! #NorthernCalifornia has a brilliant assortment of wildlife and flora—even right in your front yard. What makes the #TravisLife sweet for you? Show us in the comments!
A lot of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) readiness exercises start with a single "what if" question. In the case of #NorthernEdge, that question was "What if the Indo-Pacific were to suffer a crisis?" The answer involves about 10 million pounds of fuel 😳 Read more about it below!
Rapid global mobility wouldn't happen without these beautiful #TTails or the maintainers and crew that keep them in the air. Happy #TTailTuesday, Team Travis. #NoBounds #ProudToBeAMC #TeamTravis #FindAWayOrMakeOne #MilitaryLife #AirForce #Maintainer
A lot of things can fit into a C-5M Super Galaxy! That's why when Los Angeles Air Force Base, Home of Space and Missile Systems Center asked us if we could load the latest Advanced Extremely High Frequency - 5 satellite, we gladly obliged and shot this cool timelapse. #NoBounds For more info on the AEHF system, visit: https://www.afspc.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/249024/advanced-extremely-high-frequency-system/ NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Happy Birthday to the man, the myth, the legend... Clint Eastwood turns 89 today! He served in the U.S. Army and at 21 years old he had a brush with death when the plane he was on went down off the California coast near Point Reyes National Seashore. Eastwood and the Captain made it the two to three miles to shore after the U.S. Navy AD-1 Skyraider crashed into the ocean.
#CaptionThis! From Military Fresh Network
#tbt to May 2014 when Travis got its first introduction to FRED. #DidYouKnow the cargo compartment of the C-5M is big enough to fit an eight-lane bowling alley? #TheMoreYouKnow #BougieButNotThatBougie #NoBounds
🎶 We just took a DNA test turns out we're 100%... America's finest mobility force 🎶 We can't carry as good a tune as Lizzo, but we can for sure carry whatever payload is needed at a moment's notice. #GoodAsHell #NoBounds
“Hopping.” It’s what bunnies do. Or, if you’re an enterprising DoD card-holder with aspirations of travel, it can be your way of checking out some of the world’s best vacation hotspots...for FREE! Check out the video below for some “hopping” pointers.
Exciting new changes are taking place within Phoenix Horizon, AMC's company grade officer leadership and force development program. Click on the link below to find out more. https://www.amc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1855452/amc-expands-junior-officer-force-development-program/fbclid/IwAR3L-VFvea218JaNQRsvwyQ3SwabuUesjhCoDRLNgDoiqwqXgKAvqW7N3Ww/
"Hate to see you go, but love to watch you leave." Today's #TTailTuesday is brought to you by these couple of outbound beauties. Show us your favorite T-tail photo in the comments! #NoBounds #ProudToBeAMC #LookingGood
Are you doing the #MurphChallenge today? Named for Lt. Michael Murphy who gave his life in the performance of his duties in Afghanistan, the “Murph” stands as the definitive physical tribute to those who’ve fought and died for our freedom here and overseas. If you are, comment the name of who you’re remembering this Memorial Day. #RememberTheFallen
As Memorial Day weekend begins, enjoy the cookouts, relaxation and hanging with family and friends, but be sure to take time to remember the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice to make the moments we enjoy this weekend possible. #WeRemember #NeverForget
When we’re foot-stomping the same stuff we were foot-stomping seven years ago, you know it’s real. Today’s #fbf reminds you to hydrate, especially during these critical days of Summer. Check out the article for more tips on staying cool ahead of this season’s rising temperatures. #HydrateOrDie #TeamTravis
Hey #TeamTravis, it's #NationalSelfieDay, so here are some selfies from 60 AMW Public Affairs' resident selfie expe… https://t.co/2fB0Idjrvr
#ThirstyThursday mixed with a little bit of #TBT. Taking it back all the way to 2017 when we gave this big guy a li… https://t.co/lFK8ROwJoU
RT @EdwardsAFB: The @usairforce newest air refueling aircraft, the KC-46A Pegasus, is undergoing a variety of tests out of EAFB Starting on…
"For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a hero, to protect people." Check out our video to hear what else… https://t.co/sSjnR3gMCg
It's #ThirstyThursday so we had to show off one of our KC-10s refueling a pair of F-16s in support of #RedFlag-Alashttps://t.co/r5LQI7Y15z
RT @AirMobilityCmd: .@Travis60AMW KC-10s are out at Red Flag in Alaska, getting some training in with the #Warthog. We are #AlwaysThere whe…
#RedFlag-Alaska is an exercise that happens multiple times a year. It's essentially a who's who of butt-kicking air… https://t.co/SzPad9dult
#TeamTravis, We want to know from YOU what you want to see us post more of across our social media platforms!… https://t.co/aWCDLwrVoj
Try saying this three times fast: How many #TTails could #TeamTravis T Tail if a T Tail could be T Tailed on Tuesd… https://t.co/RP3Za496oe
Dunkin' Donuts *is* on its way! Your doughnut needs are scheduled to be filled next month!
Travis leadership: Happy #NationalDoughnutDay, #TeamTravis! Can't wait to finally have that @dunkindonuts on base,… https://t.co/qfaPwDP7rS
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Aircraft including #C130's & #C17's will commemorate today's 75th Anniversary of #DDay in France with a formation fligh…
A lot of @DeptofDefense readiness exercises start with a single "what if" question. In the case of #NorthernEdge, t… https://t.co/kVN6cRWCpV
RT @cvvhrn: @Travis60AMW Always nice to see 68-0213 back at Moffett https://t.co/9njKm70r3P
RT @Aviation123456: USAF Lockheed Martin C5M Super Galaxy 86-0026 at Fairford today. @Travis60AMW https://t.co/rXj0oPqkuX
Clint Eastwood served in the @USArmy & at 21, he had a brush with death when the plane he was on went down off the… https://t.co/P1bVC3Od60