A Hospital for Shindand District, Afghanistan


Shindand District, Afghanistan, has an estimated 400 villages and not one single hospital. But thanks to the work of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group (AEAG) and the civil affairs program at Shindand Air Base, all that is about to change.

A groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 28 kicked off the construction of a new hospital near Shindand Air Base, a joint project between Air Force and Navy officers. The $5 million project is estimated to be completed in nine months. The hospital will provide women’s care, pediatric care, and emergency services, according to Air Force Maj. Wesley Morris, a comptroller adviser for the 838th AEAG.

Civil affairs programs are integral to the mission in Afghanistan. They act as the liaison between the military command and civilian inhabitants of a war zone. Comprised primarily of civilian experts such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, police, firemen and others who serve in the U.S. Army, Naval, and Air Force Reserves, the programs provide expertise, support, and coordination of infrastructure and humanitarian projects in a war zone.

Navy Cmdr. Paul Fermo, deputy commander of the 838th AEAG and the director of the civil affairs programs at Shindand Air Base, says humanitarian missions target the essential needs to sustain life — basic health, food, water and security.

“The air base gets almost daily requests for emergency medical support, and every time I’ve gone outside the wire, people approach us requesting medical assistance, so there is obviously a serious need here,” he says. “Having the privilege of being involved in enduring humanitarian assistance projects like the hospital, which has the potential to change the future of Shindand [District], is very rewarding.”

Read the full story, “ Air Force, Navy officers help develop Afghan hospital project by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing.


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Air Force Col. John Hokaj, the commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Air Advisory Group, discusses Jan. 28, 2012, a hospital’s impact to Shindand District, Afghanistan, with U.S. and Afghan dignitaries and military members. Hokaj and the dignitaries were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony for a new hospital near Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. (Courtesy photo)