Medical clinic dedicated to fallen Soldier

Story and photo by Spc. John Stimac
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-West, Iraq — The Troop Medical Clinic at Q-West was dedicated and re-named the Cpl. Christopher J. West TMC, in a ceremony Sept.17 at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq.

West, or C.J. to his friends and family, was a medic assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He died Feb. 4. 2008, of wounds suffered during combat operations in Muqdadiyah, Iraq.

Lt. Col. Noel Cardenas, commander of the 421st Multifunctional Battalion, said he wanted to highlight the collaborative effort it took to get the TMC where it is today.

“The clinic went through a $1 million renovation just a few months ago,” said Cardenas. “The clinic increased from zero fixed-treatment rooms to six and increased the emergency response and medical evacuation capacity by 100 percent.”

Cardenas said staffing is a mutual effort between Soldiers from the 16th Sustainment Brigade and Task Force 1st Medical Brigade.

“The mutual efforts between our units increased the clinical capability of this clinic,” said Cardenas.

Lt. Col. Christopher Chun, the commander of the 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), said the 16th Sust. Bde. completed renovations in six months.

“Overall, the project was a great success due to the efforts of all involved,” he said.

Capt. Avery Carney, commander of the 601st Area Support Medical Company, and an Orland Hills, Ill., native, said the process to rename the clinic started in July.

“We submitted a point paper, which is a justification on who he was and then it had to go up the chain to Multi-National Corps-Iraq and was approved in a month,” said Carney. “We also had to contact his family for their blessing.”

Carney said the West family gathered the same day as the dedication in honor of their son.

“We are proud that this facility is named after him,” said Carney. “We are putting together a care package with a DVD of the ceremony to send to his family.”

Chun said the ceremony was done well and had a positive affect on the morale of the clinic staff, especially when it was named after a medic they knew.

“It provides a sense of permanence to the clinic and reminds us all of the importance of remembering the sacrifices that our fellow Soldiers make every day,” said Chun. “It was also important to the Soldier’s family that they were made a part of the process.”

Sgt. Patrick Lucas, team chief of the command post node, A Company, 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, who is assigned to Contingency Operating Location Bernstein, Iraq, and West’s best friend attended the ceremony.

Lucas, an Arlington, Texas, native, said C.J. would have been proud of the ceremony and renaming.

“His family wanted me to be here today and I’m glad it was able to happen,’” said Lucas. “C.J. was a great guy. Everybody wanted to be around him and I know he is looking down and would be proud of this day.”

Sgt. Jerry Jacob, a medic with the 601st Area Support Medical Company, said he and West went through basic training, advanced individual training, and Airborne School together. He suggested West’s name for the facility.

 “Our mission here is to serve others and help them feel better; that is exactly what kind of person C.J. was,” said Jacob. “During the deployment, his picture will be right here looking over me, reminding me why I am here. It’s more than just a name. It is an inspiration to do your best every day.”


news photo
Sgt. Jerry Jacob, a medic with the 601st Area Support Medical Company, and Sgt. Patrick Lucas, a team chief with the command post node, A Company, 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion stand in front of a mural outside the newly dedicated Cpl. Christopher J. West troop medical clinic Sept.17 at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stimac)