Incirlik stays healthy with "behind the scenes" Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sara Csurilla
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Any given day, one could walk into Incirlik's clinic and immediately notice the amount of work that is being done and the quality of service given to their patients.

However, hidden on the lower floor of the clinic there's a small group of Airmen providing quality work every day.

These Airmen belong to the 39th Medical Group's Public Health shop.
"We have an array of responsibilities here at Public Health," said Senior Airman Jonathan Hunt, 39th MDG Public health technician. "But our core mission is to ensure everyone is healthy by preventing and controlling communicable diseases, preventing disability and premature death."

Public Health's diverse mission demands Airmen to constantly be on their feet and ready for any health concern that may face the base.

"Most people know us for inspecting food facilities on base and being a part of their out processing checklist," Airman Hunt said. "We are also responsible for ensuring people have the correct medicine when traveling to other countries, safeguarding pregnant women in the workplace, sexually transmitted disease and infection education and prevention and hearing tests. And one more important issue that we deal with has been extremely relevant here at Incirlik; education on animal and insect bites."

To handle such a complex workload, Airmen with the Public Health flight have some unique education tools, training equipment and visual aids inside their workspace.

The shop looks like an ordinary workspace with desks, computers and busy Airmen. However, a closer look reveals some rather unusual objects hidden beneath their shelves and lining the counter tops for everyone to see.

Underneath the shelves and confined behind small glass doors is a collection of creepy crawlers. The collection consists of poisonous snakes, spiders and large insects preserved in jars and on display to inform the public to stay clear of while in Turkey.

"Our mission here is very unique, but it never gets boring and there's always so much more to learn on any given subject in the career field," said Master Sgt. Manjinder Suprai, 39th MDG Public Health flight chief. "We are kind of like the doctors of the community as a whole. The difference is we prevent and educate in masses [mostly behind the scenes] and bring services to the people rather than them having to come to us."

The hard work that Public Health puts in contributes to the readiness of all Airmen and the overall health of the Incirlik community.

"Think of it like this, would you want to eat food that wasn't kept up to superior hygiene standards, or deploy with someone that wasn't medically ready to help keep you safe?" Airman Hunt asked. "Our mission ensures people never have to worry about things like this and that's a big part of why I enjoy my job. I get to help everyone and learn about so many things from pathology to entomology, I'm always ready to learn something new."