Special Operations Surgical Team to receive Bronze Star Medal at UAB

Birmingham, Special Operations Surgical Team, Bronze Stars, Air Force, awards, award ceremonies, UAB
Birmingham, Special Operations Surgical Team, Bronze Stars, Air Force, awards, award ceremonies, UAB
Special Operations Surgical Team members to receive the Bronze Star. Photo courtesy of UAB.

Five Special Tactics Airmen will receive the Bronze Star Medal – the military’s fourth highest combat medal – for extraordinary heroism during a ceremony at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The ceremony will take place at 11a.m. on February 13, 2018.

The airmen receiving the award include:

  • Lt. Col. Ben Mitchell, emergency medicine physician
  • Lt. Col. Matthew Uber, nurse anesthetist
  • Maj. Justin Manley, surgeon
  • Capt. Cade Reedy, emergency room nurse

Maj. Jonathan Chin, another SOST airman from a separate deployment, will also receive a Bronze Star at the awards ceremony.

The airmen, part of an elite Special Operations Surgical Team (SOST) from the 720th Operations Support Squadron, will receive the award for their quick, life-saving care during an overwhelming surge of casualties while forward-deployed with special operations forces in the fight against the Islamic State.

Why is the award ceremony being held at UAB?

UAB hosts personnel from three SOSTs, whose members rotated between active military deployments and regular shifts at the Level-1 Trauma Center at UAB.

When the team is not on deployment, they are stationed at UAB where they train and hone their skills.

Check out this video for a look inside UAB’s Level-1 Trauma Center.

During the teams two-month deployment, they were stationed less than two miles from a besieged city, where electricity, clean water, medical supplies and blood supply were scarce.

With their expert training from UAB’s Level-1 Trauma Center, the team was able to convert an abandoned residence and a makeshift hospital and casualty safe-haven for treatment and surgery.

Here the team provided care for more than 750 patients, managed 19 mass-casualty events, performed 16 life-saving surgeries and cared for casualties of chemical weapon exposure.

“Our SOTS are equipped to perform life-saving battlefield surgery and trauma resuscitation, far forward, to ensure the men and women who make up our military and partner forces make it home alive,” said Lt. Col. Eli Mitchell, commander of the 720th Operations Support Squadron.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of this team, which is on part with the level of expertise and competence we’ve come to expect from all the teams.”