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Filed under: prairie musings, CCATT — Peg Britton @ 9:23 am

Traumatic brain injuries - burns and amputations signature injuries of war. It’s up to the Air Force medics to transport the injured from war zones to hospitals.

In the past decade the process has changed - because of training that only happens in Cincinnati. Local 12’s Deborah Dixon tells us how those lessons of war are helping at home.

Here’s the training scenario: The patient is conscious, eyes are blinking but he’s in shock. He has a head injury and amputations from an IED or improvised explosive device. The other patient is burned. Three military medics try to communicate over the noise of the Air Force transport engines, and work through the darkness of flying over a combat zone at night.

The high tech stressful simulation is part of the training at UC Medical Center’s C- Stars program. C-Stars stands for Center for the Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills. There are three in the country. UC’s is the only one that trains Air Force trauma teams to fly the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan to hospitals.

A critical care team monitors what the medics do. “We push them to level where they are are stressed. We want them to feel it in training.We want any mistakes made here on the ground.”

Grandson Tyler is one of the fifteen instructors who train the teams work in the trauma unit.  Its director, Air Force Colonel Dr. Jay Johannigman, has been deployed six times. “I have no question, care here is different than it was 10 years ago because of the hard lessons learned at war. To not bring those lessons slights those privileged to serve.”

Lessons of war were used to treat Cincinnati Police Sergeant Ron Schaeper in 2011 after his car was hit head-on on Columbia Parkway. He was driving to work. His broken body and damaged brain were treated like a soldier from the battlefield.

Miami University senior Zach Stevens believes he is alive because of them. Zach was driving from his parents in Indianapolis back to Miami three years ago when he was broadsided by a van in Liberty, Indiana. His car was pushed across the street into propane tanks. The local sheriff resuscitated him. Zach was airlifted to UC Medical Center with two broken hips, a shattered femur broken ribs and much more. “My diaphragm was ripped, had a ruptured kidney, lacerated stomach moved up here. This lung collapsed, the other one partially collapsed, bruising up here.”

Mark also had blood clots and got pneumonia while in a medically induced coma.  There was talk of gathering the family to say goodbye. But Dr. Johannigman and others in the trauma unit had seen this before. “What they told my parents, this is exactly what we see overseas.  Its an example of explosion with the organs, body bruised everything. They literally had to put me back together.”

“Every night in Cincinnati I have the privilege of telling moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles their loved ones are alive because we did everything to make this trauma unit like overseas at war.”

UC’s trauma unit sees 3500 patients a year. Most have injuries like Zach, from falls or accidents. Zach says his brush with death helps him see life in a different way. He’s more grateful for each day, and for his family and friends. And he’s grateful the lessons of war came home.



Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, CCATT — Peg Britton @ 8:24 am


On this day six years ago, my grandson enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.  At that time, he had another year of high school and the world ahead of him waiting to be explored.

Now, after five years of active service, Tyler is a certified, nationally registered respiratory therapist who teaches CCATT (Critical Care Air Transport Team) students at the University of Cincinnati Critical Care Hospital.  He has served two tours in Afghanistan while helping with the care and transfer of critically wounded service personnel from the battlefield hospital in Afghanistan to a secure hospital setting in Germany.  He probably will be deployed again later this year.  As his role in the Air Force, it’s “what he does”.

The Air Force has provided him with wonderful career and educational opportunities and a bright future.

Thank you for your service to your country, Tyler.  We’re all very proud of you. Somewhere your grandpa and Uncle Bruce are giving you a big Air Force salute!



Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, CCATT — Peg Britton @ 7:47 am

Today is the day we set aside to honor those who have served and are currently serving in the military. I’m very proud of my grandson, Air Force Staff Sergeant Tyler James Britton, shown below with his team from his first tour in Afghanistan. He has served two tours in Afghanistan and will, no doubt, be returning as “that’s what he does”.  He is a registered respiratory therapist and currently instructs other therapists to air transport critically injured war casualties.



POTUS thanks Tyler for his service to our country.

Thank you to…

my husband…Roy P. Britton US Army Air Corps WWII


my brother… Capt. Bruce H. Baker USAF fighter pilot. My brother died Memorial Day weekend in Denver ‘93 from Hep C that they believe was incurred following an automobile accident he suffered while he was on his way to the AF base in Spain.

my father… Lt. Bruce H. Baker Sr. US Army WWI

my cousin… Theodore Jury US Army and Marines WWII and Korea. Age 83, alive and well and living in San Francisco.

my cousin… Mary Ann Jury who served as a Navy nurse in WWII

my cousin…Bernadette Jury, a nurse,  who wasn’t in the service, but worked in an Army amputee hospital in CA during the war

my great-grandfather…Theodore Jury who served for the North in the Civil War.

and a host of friends.  You will not be forgotten.



Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Afghanistan, CCATT — Peg Britton @ 12:22 pm

Open Letter to CNN from a CCATT team in Afghanistan
by Scott Vandehoef on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:10am ·

February 20, 2012

Dear Mr. Anderson Cooper and CNN,

Although I am sure that you receive thousands of communication attempts per day, I remain hopeful that this letter will cross your desk, or that of an appropriate staff member.  My name is Adam Tibble, and I am currently deployed at Camp Bastion, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.  I am a critical care air transport physician for the US Air Force.  My team includes a critical care nurse, Captain Frank Brisendine, and a respiratory therapist, Staff Sargent Robby Wilson.  Together we transport our severely injured soldiers within Afghanistan and onto medical facilities in Germany.  The work represents a difficult paradox for us.  It is incredibly rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time.  The injury patterns inflicted by enemy fire and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are awe-strikingly severe, and serve to stir emotions rarely experienced by medical personnel.

Just the other day, we flew two critically ill patients to another US hospital within Afghanistan.  Following the mission, my team sat, exhausted, eating lunch at an American dining facility.  CNN played passively on a television in the background, and a large group of US Marines was positioned on our right.  Given the condition of their boots and their aggressive chewing, it was obvious that these guys had just returned from the field “outside the wire.”  For 50 straight minutes, CNN’s coverage failed to deviate from the day-old Whitney Houston tragedy.  I lifted my eyes up from my food as a handful of Marines were clearing their trays.  One Marine leaned back to his buddy after gesturing to the TV and said, “Man, no one gives a shit about what we did yesterday.”

At that moment, I craved for the American public to be informed as much about a Marine’s sacrifice as the life of a music legend.  In no way is this letter an indictment of CNN, its coverage, or Ms. Houston.  In fact, we scour your website, as it is one of the most respected sources of journalism in the world.  Rather, this is a challenge to devote a percentage more coverage to the true heroes in this conflict.

For example, our team had the honor of transporting a special forces medic who suffered incredible injury.  As pragmatic medical minds, we didn’t necessarily believe in a patient “fighting” for their life.  But, this medic changed all of that as he tolerated replacement of his blood volume too many times to count.  He made it to Germany to see his family before succumbing to his wounds.  He represents a real-life “Saving Private Ryan” story as his brother also lost his life in this nearly forgotten conflict.

Or what about the two US Army PFCs (Private First Class) that we flew on the day of Ms. Houston’s overdose?  Each soldier lost two legs and one hand in IED attacks.  In total, six limbs were lost in a matter of seconds on February 11, 2012.  The American public will never know their names, but will likely know the results of Ms. Houston’s blood toxicity screen.  However, we submit that these soldiers are more hero than any rockstar, athlete, or actor that dominates the headlines.  We will never know the courage or bravery it takes to join that convoy or be the first to enter that cave, nor will we forget the sacrifice they made for our country.  CNN is in the unique position to not let the American public forget, either.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the 1% and the 99% of America.  Less than 1% of the population belongs to this all-volunteer military that has been tested by two wars for over 10 years.  The political and foreign policy implications of these conflicts make them hard to understand, and even more impossible to hold the general American public interest.  And to be honest, it is sometimes difficult for us to understand as service members.  However, these kids still join that convoy and enter that cave, only because of their incredible bravery, commitment, and because America asked them to.

Therefore, in turn, we plead with one of the most respected news agencies in the world to return the favor–to recognize the elite of our 1%, perhaps with a hero highlighted per week, or per day.  There are thousands of stories out here.  We would be happy to help you find these heroes and stories.  Please ask.  Then, maybe, CNN can tell that Marine in the dining hall that we all, in fact, do give a shit about what they did yesterday.


Adam Tibble, Captain, USAF, MD
Critical Care Air Transport Physician
Cardiac Anesthesiologist
Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA

Frank Brisendine, Captain, USAF, RN
Critical Care Air Transport RN
Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA

Robert Wilson, Staff Sergeant, USAF, RT
Critical Care Air Transport RT
Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Tyler Britton USAF, Afghanistan, Ally Britton, CCATT — Peg Britton @ 9:19 am

An Easter basket arrived today complete with a decorated egg nestled in artificial grass all in a red plastic cup tied with a gold bow.  It’s from my friend Claudia. She also brought a grape tomato seedling to plant by my big rock.  I love harvesting little tomatoes right off the vine to eat on the spot.  She’ll have to tend to it to make sure it grows.

Speaking of Easter baskets, it’s about time to start construction on May baskets.  No need to wait around until the last minute to get those little puppies started.

May basket construction was a big thing when I was young and also with our kids.  It’s now a non-event.  I think it went by the wayside with the advent of knobless door handles and front door screens that ruined all the fun with their push button door handles.

Back in the old times, we’d color designs on construction paper, cut a strip from one edge of the paper to serve as a handle and use flour and water paste to stick it all together.  That paste was exasperating. It was no easy task and activity was much simplified after the advent of the stapler and acquisition of  wall paper samples.   After gathering fresh lilacs, tulips and anything else that might be blooming, we’d fill the baskets with the flowers, greenery and a piece or two of candy.  Delivering them was the most fun of all….ringing doorbells and running away, hiding in wait.

The umpteenth repair man just left after replacing all the parts …the ones that make the thing work…on my new Jenn Air oven. We’ve been at this since before Christmas.  Let’s see.  New oven.  Replaced all the parts on a new oven in a series of trips.  Removed the new oven and brought in another new oven.  Now new parts for the second new oven.  I’ve almost given up on having it right for Karen’s precise cookie-baking processes.   If error messages come up on this oven warning us not to use the oven, well, I may just let it go and burn the place down.  Dern.  I love techie stuff but I must have an element in me that sets them crazy.

Now if I could get my phones repaired.  I’ve been working at this since before Thanksgiving last year!

And, my Dell keyboard.  It worked fine until my computer died and now it won’t work.  I’m using an old one, but I’d rather use the new as it’s a better fit.  I have to call my friends in India again to get it repaired/replaced.  I can hardly wait.  It keeps me in touch with the rest of the world by talking with my friends from afar.  Not.

There is a huge hawk hovering overhead looking for breakfast.  I think, but don’t know for certain, it is a sharp-shinned hawk.  It’s a big buster and a frequent visitor. Any small helpless bird serves as prey as it swoops down upon it.  It must be feeding baby hawks as you can see the trail of groceries it carries in its claws as it heads east.  The buzzards are here making a round of inspections for scrapes the hawk left behind.

Grandson Drew will be arriving late tonight from Boulder where he lives and works.  We’re all excited about that.  He won’t have much time but he’ll be treated like a king while he’s here.  His mother always bakes and accumulates things for him to take home.  And, my guess is he’ll arrive with a trunk load of laundry for her to do.  Moms like that.   Ally has made her famous banana nut bread and cookies with K-State colored M&M’s for him.  He gets hugs and a little gas money from grandma.

Youngest grandson Tyler is still in Afghanistan serving his second tour as a respiratory therapist and transporting severely injured soldiers to Germany as a member of CCATT…Critical Care Air Transport Team.  He’ll be there until late summer and upon his return, he’ll be going to Cincinnati where he’ll be working in the ICU at the Cincinnati University Hospital as a civilian respiratory therapist and teaching in the CCATT program that is headquartered there. He’s reenlisting for another four years as he loves what he does and the opportunities are plentiful. It was a good decision.  I wish he could be home this weekend to join what few of us there are in this family.

Someone from the Executive Office of the President was on my blog for 9 minutes and 23 seconds viewing 8 pages yesterday.  That’s the second time that I am aware of.  I rarely check and when I do, I can only determine the town that presumably the visitor is from.  In this case, however, it clearly states it’s the “Executive Office of the President”.  That makes me smile in wonder.  Actually, I know what they were looking for but I will withhold that information for another post.

Thanks for tuning in…


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