MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
With 15 different specialties, the Biomedical Sciences Corps represents the Air Force's leaders in specialized health to include optometry, physical therapy, and audiology.
Unlike many other U.S. Air Force career fields, BSC Airmen come into the service with a degree or specialized training in their career field. While this offers a broad array of service offered to patients, it often means that BSC Airmen are the only ones on base who can perform their jobs, which can be difficult.
"It's very common to see individuals in the Corps feel a sense of isolation because they have their specific job to do," said Maj. Ethan Woodbury, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander. "Often, they're the only person on base able to do what they do. I personally felt that way at my first duty station."
In an effort to address this issue, the Corps holds an annual appreciation week across the Air Force as a way to bring BSC Airmen together and build a sense of camaraderie.
At Misawa, the week of Jan. 22-26 included events such as daily trivia emails, care packages to deployed personnel, a BSC teleconference, a team-building event on the soccer hill, sledding and a potluck dinner.
The unification effort was much appreciated by Misawa's BSC Airmen.
"I think the week is great," said Lt. Col. Eric Hendrickson, the 35th Medical Operations Squadron commander. "It's been amazing to have various BSC Airmen brought together, both office and enlisted. With our event, everyone came together, even family members, to celebrate our unique capabilities we offer the Air Force and to raise awareness of those capabilities to those outside the Corps."
For the other 51 weeks of the year, though, Misawa BSC Airmen recognize the importance of mentorship and fellowship as the means to achieve their goals.
"When we all come from different walks of life and serve in vastly different specialties, it's good to come together and build cohesion amongst the Corps," explained Woodbury. "Thankfully, I had two BSCs take me under their wing at my first base. I can attribute most of the successes in my career to the mentorship they gave me during my formative Air Force years. That's what we're trying to accomplish most. We want to come together and help each other reach our potential as top-performing Airmen."