566th Area Support Medical Company Redeploys

Families waited anxiously for word that the plane carrying the approximately 50 soldiers from the 566th Medical Company (ASMC) scheduled to redeploy to Fort Hood on July 22, 2003, had landed. The unit was scheduled to land at Fort Hood after 10:00 in the evening so the families were expecting a late night. It was after midnight before the soldiers finally made it to Abrams gym where their families were waiting for them. Even the late hour could not dampen the excitement of the families.

Missy Keller, wife of SSG Jeff Keller, a medic with the 566th, passed out long stem red roses to all family members of the soldiers. A local florist gladly donated the roses to welcome the soldiers home. As the evening wore on the children started to slow down and some even decided to take a nap while waiting for their parents.

Eight-month-old Alyssa Millard who was only two months old when her father, SPC Anthony Millard deployed, fell asleep. Her mother, Erica Millard, however was too excited to rest.

Word came that the buses were on their way to the gym. The excitement level of the families increased. Men and women alike clutched the long stem roses along with signs of welcome. As the buses pulled into the parking lot the crowd stood. The din increased when the door of the gym rolled up and the soldiers marched in. The children who had fallen asleep woke up in time to join the welcome. Colonel Fulton Johnson, chief of staff for the 13th COSCOM welcomed the soldiers home, while their former Brigade Commander, Colonel Joseph Hightower watched proudly. Colonel Hightower relinquished command of the 1st Medical Brigade to Colonel Terry Walters on Friday July 18th in Iraq.

The 566 Area Support Medical Company deployed on January 14, 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in the northern camps of Kuwait, the 566th ASMC supported a patient population of over 20,000 soldiers and trained on critical survival skills such as communications, navigation, and battle drills in preparation for combat.

At the start of the war the unit moved into Iraq. Captain Peter Markot, commander of the 566th, said the unit was the furthest forward ASMC in the war. The 566th ASMC provided Direct Support to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigade combat teams of the 3rd Infantry Division throughout the ground war. During this time many of the soldiers earned their Combat Medical Badge (CMB). The CMB is one of the most coveted awards a "Soldier Medic" can earn and certainly has been and always will be the ultimate "Portrait of Courage". It was created as a means to recognize the important role performed by medical personnel assigned or attached to infantry units, and who on a daily basis share the same hazards and hardships of combat. An award ceremony was held for the soldiers to receive their CMB on June 17, 2003 at Camp Speicher, Iraq.

Following the major fighting, the 566th provided medical support to Enemy Prisoners of war (EPWs) at Camp Dogwood, Iraq. At this point, the unit had triaged, treated and evacuated 433 patients, including coalition, EPWs and civilians.

In late April the unit moved north to Tikrit and provided medical support to 4th ID and other Corps assets. In total the Unit saw 2,079 patients during their time in the Middle East.

 

news photo
566th Medical Company Redeployment