Fortis Subsidium

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Ian Erskine
  • 509th Medical Support Squadron commander
Fortis Subsidium! Without strong, bold support there is no chance of success. This truism is prevalent in many operational environments no matter what the mission focus is. The men and women of the 509th Medical Support Squadron (MDSS) recognize and identify with the force enabler capability our unit brings to the fight.

The MDSS exists at just about every installation in our great Air Force. At last count, one can identify 76 distinct Medical Support Squadrons, eight of which fall within Air Force Global Strike Command. The 509th MDSS was constituted on Aug. 26, 1994, and activated on Sept. 1, 1994. In the 23 years since our unit’s activation we’ve seen significant change in the Air Force Medical Service resulting in the right-sizing of Whiteman’s medical mission to an out-patient operation.The emergency room and in-patient hospital beds may have gone away, but our 24/7 medical support mindset has never been stronger.

The 509th MDSS is organized into four flights, all highly calibrated to support medical operations. Eighty military, civil service and contract Airman staff the flights, which include the Diagnostic and Therapeutic (D&T), Medical Logistics and Readiness, TRICARE Operations and Patient Administration (TOPA), and Resource Management (RMO) flights. Each flight is organized and equipped to enhance the Medical Group’s mission, which is to "Optimize Health, Wellness and Readiness for Team Whiteman" and they do this in awesome fashion every day.

Members of the D&T flight work in a complex environment, where application of science and art are daily reality. This flight delivers laboratory and radiology services and pharmacy operations. They bring expert trusted care to more than 26,000 unique patient engagements every year. The Airmen in this environment complete rigorous technical training programs lasting more than one year before arriving on station to support the delivery of care for Team Whiteman.

Alongside the D&T flight, you’ll find our RMO flight, a skilled crew managing a $12 million operations budget and staffing for the group’s 280 health care professionals. Our resources advocate on behalf of the Whiteman community daily, developing business cases and securing funds for the continuous improvement of healthcare services.

As our resources tee-it-up, our Medical Logistics and Readiness flight, lovingly referred to as our Log Dawgs, expertly execute the supply, medical equipment, facility, and emergency management as well as acquisition service needs for the group. Over the last two years these Airmen have been hard at work executing a $28 million military construction project aimed at improving patient flow and upgrading the aging medical equipment and utility infrastructure.

Finally, our TOPA completes the unit’s composition, these stellar Airmen manage the TRICARE health benefit for more than 19,000 active and retired service members and their dependents in the local area. They deliver patient administration services including, but not limited to, medical boards, medical referral processing and special health care benefit reviews. TOPA also oversees a $21 million civilian healthcare program ensuring Whiteman Airmen and their families have access to timely, quality care.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to provide just a glimpse into the lives and highlights of the 509th MDSS. We are honored to serve and support the delivery of trusted care for Team Whiteman. Rest assured, we are at the ready, and well prepared to support
all your future health care needs… Fortis Subsidium!