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Operation Arctic Care members helping people in remote areas

by Tech. Sgt. Melissa E. Chatham
Operation Arctic Care Public Affairs

4/22/2010 - KOTZEBUE, Alaska (AFNS) -- A member of the Tennessee Air National Guard traveled to Kotzebue for Operation Arctic Care April 16, to provide medical care for individuals located in the remote area.

Col. Cory Strobel, the chief of aero medical services for the 134th Medical Group, at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn., is part of the joint military readiness and logistics training exercise.

Colonel Strobel is normally a pediatric gastroenterologist, but in Alaska he has been working at the Maniilaq Health Center with adult patients. He has been conducting upper gastrointestinal and colon checks. He also performed physicals for children at the Maniilaq High School.

"This is a great experience," Colonel Strobel said. "I hope that Operation Arctic Care will encourage others to assist in humanitarian missions. I also look forward to 2012, when the Air National Guard will be the front-runners for Operation Arctic Care."

"We have found a lot of disease and colon polyps while visiting Kotzebue," he said. "We have removed polyps and sent them to pathology for testing and have found that there are numerous cases of colon cancer in this area."

Alaskan native Matthew Rae, a 17-year-old Maniilaq High School student, came in for his physical for medical clearance to play sports. He is a three-time regional wrestling champion and has placed at state twice.

"I'm so glad the military is here for medical help," Matthew said. "I would have had to wait until summertime to get a physical if Arctic Care wasn't here. The military provide quick service, they are courteous and everybody seems pretty cool."

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