The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 16, 2014

Sigourney man helps develop sustainable medical practices

AFGHANISTAN — When Capt. Aaron Berg and his interpreter, flanked by a security detail, walk into the Garrison Support Unit clinic of 1st Brigade, 205th Corps, Afghan National Army, on Camp Hero, Afghanistan, it’s obvious he’s been here before. He greets Afghan soldiers by name, even asking one about his workout at the gym on a previous night. Those with whom Berg has been working more closely greet him with handshakes and hugs. Berg and his interpreter, Haroon, are invited into 205th Corps surgeon Col. Mohhakim Zahidi’s office.

“So how’s everything going with your planning for the runoff elections?” Berg asks after an exchange of pleasantries, getting to the business at hand.

Berg is a medical service corps officer from Sigourney, currently serving as deputy chief of the Afghan National Security Forces Medical Development team, which falls under the Regional Command (South) and 4th Infantry Division Surgeon section.

Maj. James Schmid, senior physician assistant, RC(S) and 4th Infantry Division, is chief of the three-man team in charge of the work he, Berg and Australian Army Warrant Officer 2 Neil Atkins have been doing now for nearly a year.

Berg is a prior-enlisted Army reservist who served for six years, which included a tour to Iraq, during the early years of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 308th Quartermaster Company.

He said 9/11 pushed him to enlist in 2002, but it was the camaraderie and sense of greater purpose he found in serving that compelled him to become an officer through ROTC. He commissioned in May 2010 and has been stationed at Fort Carson for four years, serving in a variety of medical officer positions, most recently as a battalion medical officer and company executive officer, until the 4th Infantry Division Surgeon section brought him in to deploy to Afghanistan.

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