Hastings doctor serves as flight surgeon in Afghanistan
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Col. Thomas Franklin, a doctor at Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital, recently returned from Afghanistan, where he served three months as a flight surgeon for the U.S. Air Force Reserve as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Franklin of Tulsa was a flight surgeon for the 459th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, a unit out of Joint Base Andrews, Md. The unit is responsible for refueling friendly aircrafts, and the flight surgeons treated military personnel.
Because of higher altitudes and the decreased effects of gravity in flight, the risk of health issues is greater and requires special attention by trained medical staff. The unit was also part of a NATO coalition base, with Army, Navy, Marines, British and Australians.
“A big part of what we do is participate in investigations when there’s an aircraft mishap. If there’s an aircraft that crashes, part of my job is to go out and take pictures and try to make some sort of medical assessment to figure out ways to keep things from reoccurring,” Franklin said. “These aircraft are extremely expensive, but the people who fly them are more important to us.”
Franklin has worked for Hastings Hospital since completing his residency there in 2000. He currently serves as director of the emergency department. He started a four-year stint at Hastings to fulfill his scholarship from the National Health Service Corps, and after leaving for a few months, he returned because of his relationships with patients and co-workers.
“To all of us who work with Dr. Franklin and for his patients that he cares for, he is known to be a conscientious provider of excellent emergency medical care,” Hastings CEO Brian Hail said. “That he also serves our nation in the U. S. Air Force is another example of his commitment to service, and it is a tremendous source of pride for all of us to have Dr. Franklin as part of our medical staff. We are glad he’s back safely and proud of his service to both the Air Force and the Cherokee Nation.”
Franklin has been active duty in the military for 33 years and has received promotions and awards throughout his career, including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
“The support I’ve gotten from Hastings and Cherokee Nation for my military career has been phenomenal,” Franklin said. “Working for Hastings, I’ve been allowed to participate and serve the country without any detriment to my civilian job. I’ve been really amazed at the support I’ve gotten.”
ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – Col.Thomas Franklin, ᎠᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ W.W. Hastings ᏧᏂᏢᎩᎢ, ᎾᏞᎬ ᎢᎤᎷᏣ ᏂᏓᏳᏂᎩᏓ Afghanistan, ᎤᏪᏙᎴ ᏦᎢ ᎢᏯᏅᏓ ᎾᎿ ᏥᏳ ᎦᏃᎯᎵᏙ ᎤᏣᎡ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏓᏱᎶᎯ ᎾᎿ U.S. Air Force Reserve ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏗᏓᏱᎶᎯ ᏗᏂᏅᏓ ᏙᎯᎢ.
Franklin ᎾᎿ ᏔᎳᏏ ᎡᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᏳ ᎦᏃᎯᎵᏙ ᎤᏣᎢ ᏗᏓᏱᎶᎯ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ 459th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎦ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ Joint Base Andrews, Md. ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎤᏂᎭ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏂᎧᎵᎢᏍᏗ ᏧᏓᏅᏓ ᏥᏳ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏣᏍᎦ ᏗᏓᏱᎶᎯ ᏗᏍᏕᎵᏍᎦ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᏁᏙᎯ.
ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏲᏟᎨ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏃ ᎡᎳᏓ ᏱᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ gravity ᏣᏃᏎᎰᎢ ᏱᎦᏃᎯᎳ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᏍᏓᏱ ᎤᏗᏫᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎨᏴ ᎤᎪᏙ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏥᏏᎾᎲᏍᏔᏅ ᎨᏐ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏳᎾᏍᏗ. ᎯᎠ ᎤᏙᏢᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᎸ NATO coalition base, with Army, Navy, Marines, British and Australians.
“ᏭᎪᏛ ᎾᎿᎿ ᎣᏣᏖᎳᏗᏍᎪ ᏳᏂᎪᎵᏱᎡᎾ ᎾᎿ ᏥᏳ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏳᎵᏍᏔᏂ. ᎢᏳᏃ ᏥᏳ ᏳᏬᎱᏏ, ᎠᏯ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ ᏗᏆᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎡᎵᏱᎩ ᎠᎩᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᏅᏬᏘ ᎨᏒ ᏱᏧᏓᎴᏅ ᎠᎴ ᏔᎵᏁ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Franklin. “ᎯᎠ ᏥᏳ ᎢᎦ ᎦᎶᎳᏗ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ, ᎠᏎᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏗᎾᏟᏫᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎨᏗᏯ.”
Franklin ᎾᏍᎩ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎸ Hastings ᏧᏂᏢᎩᎢ ᏂᏓᎬᏩᎴᏅᏓ ᏧᏍᏆᏛ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒ. ᏃᎴᏍᏊ ᎾᎿ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏟᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᎪᎵᏱᏗ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ. ᎤᎴᏅᎲ ᏅᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎮᏍᏗᏂ ᎤᎲ ᎢᏳᏛᏗ ᎤᏍᏆᏗᏍᏗ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ National Health Service Corps, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎩᏌ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᎢᏯᏅᏓ, ᎤᎷᏨ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏚᏬᎵᏨ ᏗᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ.
“ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏙᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎣᎦᎵᎪᎯ Dr.Franklin ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏗᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏓᏅᏖᏍᎪ, ᎠᎦᏅᏔ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏗᏍᎩ ᏬᏌᏂᏴ ᎤᏟᏍᏓ ᎤᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᎠᎦᏅᎦᏘ ᎤᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗ ᏧᏍᏕᎸᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Hasting CEO Brian Hall.
“ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᏓᏛᏁᎰ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᎿ U.S. Air Force ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎦᏟᏯ ᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎨᏒ ᎢᏓᎵᎮᎵᎦ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎯᎠ ᎦᎾᎦᏘ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ Dr. Franklin ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎠᎭᏂ. ᎢᏓᎵᎮᎵᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏭᏪᏙᎸ ᎢᎤᎷᏨ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ Air Force ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ.”
Franklin ᎠᏲᏍᎪ ᎢᏳᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏦᎢ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎩᏌ ᎦᎸᎳᏗᎨ ᎠᏥᎪᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏓᏒᏅ ᏂᏓᎬᏩᎴᏅᏓ ᏚᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ, ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗ Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal and Air Force ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᎤᎾᏙᏢ ᎤᏓᏒᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎣᏌᏂᏴ ᎾᏛᏁᎲ ᎾᎿᎢ.
“ᎬᎩᎫᏍᏓᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ Hastings ᎠᎴ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᎿ ᏥᏲᏍᎦ ᎨᏒ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎤᏍᏆᏂᎪᏓ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Franklin. “ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲ ᎾᎿ Hastings, ᎥᏆᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓᏁᎵ ᎠᏇᎳᏗᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏥᏍᏕᎸᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎡᏍᎦ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎾ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏲᏍᎩ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏓᎩᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎲᎢ. ᎢᎦ ᏧᏍᏆᏂᎪᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᎥ ᎬᎩᎫᏍᏓᎨ ᎠᎭᏂ”