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Misawa Biomedical Sciences Corps Airmen: diverse but united

the eyeball is in their court

U.S. Staff Sgt. Mark Kawczynski, left, a 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron ophthalmic technician, Maj. Ethan Woodbury, middle, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander and Tech. Sgt. Vinh Nguyen, right, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight chief, pose for a photo at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2018. Optometry specialists assist with the treatment of patients and are responsible for performing visual tests and procedures. Optometrists are one specialty of the 15 in the Biomedical Sciences Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

up on the hill

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the Biomedical Sciences Corps paint the side of a hill as part of a team-building event at Misawa Air Base, Japan, January 24, 2018. The event was just one of the many for the BSC Appreciation Week held for Airmen of different specialties to come together and build a sense of camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

Snow glow

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ethan Woodbury, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander, looks at the final product of a team-building event at Misawa Air Base, Japan, January 24, 2018. The event was just one of many for the Biomedical Sciences Corps Appreciation Week held for Airmen of different specialties to come together and build a sense of camaraderie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

Looking through

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ethan Woodbury, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander, uses a phoropter to examine a patients eyes at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2018. The phoropter is used for routine exams during sight testing and can determine an individual’s prescription. Optometrists are one specialty of the 15 in the Biomedical Sciences Corps. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

got this in the bag

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damarinda Baylis, a 35th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, injects medication into an intravenous therapy bag at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 6, 2018. Baylis is one of a few Biomedical Sciences Corps Airmen at Misawa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

Tools

Optometry tools rest on a table after Maj. Ethan Woodbury, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander, used them to examine a patient at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2018. Woodbury is one of a few Biomedical Sciences Corps Airmen at Misawa and uses all of these tools to provide care to Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

I see you

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ethan Woodbury, the 35th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry flight commander, checks a binocular indirect ophthalmoscope at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2018. The BIO machine is used for retinal and dilated eye exams. Optometrists are one specialty of the 15 in the Biomedical Science Corps. The BSC's mission is to enhance U.S. Air Force combat capability and effectiveness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

Refill

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Damarinda Baylis, a 35th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, injects medication into an intravenous therapy bag at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 6, 2018. Baylis is one of a few Biomedical Sciences Corps Airmen at Misawa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Xiomara M. Martinez)

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."