Dispatch from the AOR–One interesting experience for an AF Reserve M.D.

Below is a post from Lt. Col. E. Mark Shusterman, M.D., who is serving as the tour doctor with the Tour for the Troops.

TourDrI’ve done a few things during my 14 year Air Force Reserve career that most doctors, let alone most people, would not have the opportunity to experience in the civilian world; this gig has to be right up there on the not-quite-usual scale… A couple of months ago, I hardly imagined being on tour with the Band of the USAF Reserve, Kid Rock, Jessie James, and Carlos Mencia, traveling to six countries in barely two weeks. But an e-mail showed up in my inbox, and here I am; funny how life brings some marvelous adventures in the most unexpected ways. And an adventure this has been.

When I found out that I would be providing medical support for this mission, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As it turned out, this job has not been much different than that of any medical professional providing care to a group of seventy or so performing artists, technical crew, and other personnel, traveling at break-neck speed from country to country in tactical airlift and tanker aircraft, putting on almost nightly shows for U.S. and coalition troops at various “undisclosed” locations throughout South-West Asia and Europe. Ah, yeah…

Fortunately, so far, the need for my services has been confined to dispensing the occasional decongestant, headache pill, and suturing up the lacerations of road crew who roll off fifteen foot stages to narrowly escape a crushing death beneath thousand-pound equipment cases tumbling off fork lifts. At a place somewhere in a middle-eastern desert one needs to wear armor to fly into. Ah, yeah again…

It’s been one interesting experience. Just the sort of thing I’d hoped for when I joined the Air Force Reserves a year or so after medical school graduation.

Lt. Col. Mark Shusterman, an Air Force Reservist, is a physician traveling with the 2009 Tour for the Troops. Tour for the Troops is sponsored by the Air Force Reserve. See photos, video and updates on the Tour for the Troops Facebook fan page.  Follow Air Force Reserve on Twitter @AFRC. Look for tour updates on Twitter at #Tour4Troops