By The Major Brent Taylor Foundation
By Ann Park
Julie Sawyer, a long-time resident of North Ogden, lives a busy, productive life. She has spent much of her professional career as an ER nurse at the Ogden Regional Medical Center. She also traveled to other states to use her skills before retiring from nursing in 2020
Because nurses were needed, Julie was commissioned into the Army as a Second Lieutenant at 38. Her first deployment was to Germany, where she worked in a hospital supporting Operation Desert Storm. In 1996, she switched to the Air Force and became a flight nurse.
An Air Force flight nurse is responsible for providing medical care to patients during their trip. When soldiers are injured or have other medical issues at the front, they are transported, first to a field hospital, then to other locations where they can get a higher level of care. During the flights, the nurses are in charge of any medical problem or emergency that might come up. “Some flights were really long, up to 24 hours or more, and that was exhausting.”
She was attached to the Aerovac Medical Evacuation Squadron at McChord Air Force Base in Washington, but she has been deployed for a total of three years at locations all over the globe. She served at Scott Air Force Base in Maryland, and some of the time, she served in Uzbekistan. “I spent seven months there, living in a tent the whole time, always on call. There weren’t a lot of flight nurses at that base. Living there was a new experience for me. It saddens me that there is so much disagreement here at home. If everyone saw how people live in other countries, they would appreciate living here more.”
Julie’s favorite part of serving in the military was caring for the patients and the close relationships she developed with her team. Her job was challenging. “Taking care of the patients in the Air Force Reserve gives you a lot of experience. It might sound easy to be a military flight nurse, but you have to keep up on flight training, military training requirements, as well as regular nurse certification. And I learned to work well with all sorts of people.” And Julie did all this while still working full time as an ER Nurse, and raising her four children. After serving for twenty-two years, Julie left the military as a Major in 2011. Now retired, Julie likes to stay active, and continues to hike, ski, travel, and stay busy. Thank you for your service!
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