SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --
The 375th Medical Operations Squadron and the 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron on Scott AFB were re-designated as the 375th Healthcare Operation Squadron and 375th Operational Medicine Readiness Squadron June 26 and 29, 2020, respectively.
Within the Air Force squadrons, groups, and wings go through what is called “re-designation,” to either restructure units more efficiently or serve a new need.
The re-designations of medical operations and aerospace medicine squadrons are happening Air Force-wide at the behest of Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg. In a statement, she elaborated on the need for the conversion. “These changes are building an integrated healthcare system, restoring readiness and building the Air Force we need,” she said.
The implementation of the re-designations were ordered to be completed by Oct. 1, 2020, and Col. Jeff Alder, 375th Medical Group commander, found it most appropriate to combine the ceremony with the 375th MDOS Change of Command.
“Col. John Weatherwax is finishing a three-year command tour, and I have Lt. Col. Karri Roman that is assuming command today,” he said. “I thought the timing would be perfect because she is going to start off on her first day thinking about my intent, her focused mission set, and she needs to be looking through the right lens. I wanted her from day one to be an HCOS commander and not an MDOS commander.”
One of the largest benefits this re-designation is that one squadron will provide medical care to dependents and retirees, and the other will focus on the active duty medical readiness. Prior to this separation, each squadron had a hand in both pools.
“Resources that were diluted between the two squadrons that both handled active duty, retirees and dependents, now I can take the resources that we absolutely have to have that are dedicated to the active duty warfighter and their preparedness,” Alder explained. “I can now cleanly resource that squadron with exactly what they need, and I can take exactly what we need to best deliver gold standard care to retirees and dependents through the HCOS.”
“Right now, the 375th MDOS takes care of active duty, retirees and their dependents,” he continued. “The way we best get an active duty warfighter out the door is not the way that we can absolutely take the best care of say a dependent that has complex health issues.”
The ceremonies themselves are more so a formality, as the actual logistics of moving patients occurred prior to the event.
“We are lucky here at Scott because the re-empanelment as you would call it, who you’re enrolled to, who your doctor is – I took that step about three months ago,” Alder said. “The patients are already aligned this way, and nothing changes from the patients’ point of view. “
Although the legwork of beginning the new mission sets of the squadrons was done months ago, Alder highlighted the importance of events such as re-designations – with a focus on history and Air Force pride.
“From the historical perspective, you have the 375th MDOS that has had its history since about the early 2000s. They have certainly had teams that have deployed, carried that coin, and worn that patch,” he said. “I think there is unit pride that certainly has to be respected. The formality of the ceremony is to honor that squadron.”
“As we tell the story, they have a lot to be proud of. By taking the step of re-designation, it not only honors that history or legacy, but it also makes it clear to them is what we are doing is setting the conditions for them to take their game to a higher level. We need absolute mission focus to achieve a level of excellence that is unprecedented,” Alder concluded.