UAB’s Air Force Special Ops leader wins Bronze Star

The commander of UAB’s Air Force Special Operations medical team has been awarded the Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan.
bronze starMajor Brendan C. Anzalone, M.D., a member of the United States Air Force Special Operations Surgical Team-Special Ops Critical Care Evacuation Team (SOST-SOCCET) based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in command of his team during operations in Afghanistan. 

SOST-SOCCET consists of active-duty Air Force medical professionals including trauma and orthopedic surgeons, emergency physicians, nurse anesthetists, surgical scrub techs, critical-care nurses, and respiratory techs. They are charged with providing far-forward medical care during combat operations wherever the U.S. military is engaged. When not on active deployment, the team trains at UAB in surgery, in the trauma center and in the intensive-care units.

Anzalone’s Bronze Star citation states he distinguished himself during ground operations in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom from July to December 2012. Team members under his leadership conducted 17 lifesaving trauma resuscitations and evacuated 46 trauma patients.

The citation credits Anzalone with effective positioning of his team to provide surgical interventions during seven mass casualty events. This includes providing lifesaving care to coalition personnel injured during 14 indirect fire attacks and one mortar and machine gun assault on Anzalone’s forward-operating bases. Anzalone’s leadership was also cited in his team’s response to two “green on blue” attacks on coalition forces by Afghan security personnel. The citation notes, “The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor and devotion to duty displayed by Major Anzalone in this responsible position reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

The SOST-SOCCET team has been based at UAB since 2010. UAB’s Level One Trauma Center sees more than 3,000 patients each year with injuries — from car wrecks, accidents or crime — that mimic what the team sees in battle. This provides an enhanced opportunity for team members to train and prepare between deployments to combat zones. Learn more about the UAB SOST-SOCCET team.
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