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Army medic spends time off with firefighters

Staff Sgt. Glenn Yeager calls Sandy Fire his 'second family'
by: marcus hathcock, Glenn Yeager, center, jokes around with his firefighting buddies at the Sandy Fire Station.

After serving 10 months in war-torn Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. Glenn Yeager returned home to Sandy Sunday afternoon, March 18, for a two-week vacation from his duties as a combat medic.

Between visits to family and friends, Yeager, 31, spent time with his 'second family' at the Sandy Fire Station.

Yeager joined the Sandy Fire District as a probationary (volunteer) firefighter in January 2005. His colleagues say he was a very active volunteer who was 'always around.'

He said he's really missed his exploits with his fellow firefighters. Although he can't serve in the full capacity as an EMT or firefighter, Yeager has gone on calls with his buddies as an observer.

'I always like hanging out with my second family,' Yeager said. '(Firefighting) is my No. 1 passion in life, and it runs through my veins daily.'

Yeager will leave Sandy April 3 and will go back to Afghanistan to finish his tour of duty. When his tour officially ends in two months, Yeager looks forward to coming home and resuming his work with the fire district.

One of the highlights of Yeager's time in Afghanistan included a medical assistance mission Jan. 12-15. Yeager joined a full complement of Special Forces, Army, Air Force, Navy and Romanian doctors, dentists, physician assistants, veterinarians and medics to treat the ailments of the local populace in the Shindad region of Afghanistan.

The joint-service, joint-nation effort was carried out in three villages over a span of four days. The mission targeted the village of Shindand for two days as well as the villages of Shouz and Adraskan.

'We mostly just saw regular aches and pains that are relatively easy to solve,' said Maj. Lisa Mitchell, a military doctor who was at the scene.

The medical team treated close to 300 people, male and female, young and old, and everyone in between.

Yeager, an Army medic serving with 2nd Kandak, 1st Brigade, spent most of his day handing out Motrin and vitamins.

'For the males, it's mostly been headaches, pain and regular cold symptoms,' Yeager said. 'I did see a pretty nasty infection, too. There's only so much we can do to help, and then it's up to the individual to maintain their health.'

The Special Forces team leader explained that medical assistance missions are important to the Special Forces mission. Medical assistance missions lend credibility to the Afghan National Army, which is always on site, and show the Afghan people that American and Afghan armies alike are truly here to help them. These missions demonstrate good governance to the people and ensure local support for the military's presence.

- Army Staff Sgt. Matt Leas contributed to this report.