brandon blake 600x800Brandon Blake, a respiratory therapist with UAB’s trauma team and master sergeant in the United States Air Force, has been named as one of the Air Force’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2022.

Blake was one of just 12 airmen selected by the Air Force based on “superior leadership, job performance, and personal achievements.”

Blake is the detachment superintendent of the four Special Operations Surgical Teams (SOST) based out of UAB and also serves as a respiratory therapist for SOST. Each SOST team includes a surgeon, a nurse, a scrub tech, an emergency medical physician, a respiratory therapist, and an anesthesiologist. These teams are ready at a moment’s notice to deploy to austere locations and dangerous situations across the globe, providing trauma resuscitation and life-saving surgical care.

While fully embedded as a part of UAB’s trauma team since 2018, Blake has deployed several times, including to Afghanistan in August of last year. He assisted on the ground during the Kabul evacuation and cared for numerous patients during the Kabul Airport bombing.

Previously, Blake was named one of the Air Force Special Operations Command’s 2021 Airmen of the Year and was recognized for deploying in support of Operation Allies Refuge, the largest non-combatant evacuation in U.S. military history. He was on one of the medical teams that aided in moving 124,000 passengers and the transportation of 71 wounded, and he enabled several critical surgeries.

Lieutenant Colonel David Northern, the Commander for Detachment 1 of the 720th Operations Support Squadron which oversees UAB SOST personnel, says that Blake is integrated seamlessly at UAB. Blake has been able to bring his experience from his military deployments to civilian patients in the trauma bay at UAB, and has also been able to take his medical skills sharpened from time at UAB, a high volume, American College of Surgeons-verified Level I Trauma Center, to the seriously wounded worldwide.

Northern says Blake’s story highlights the value of the military-civilian partnership between the Air Force and the UAB Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.

“This partnership has allowed him to bring our combat-injured service members home safely in the most grueling of deployed scenarios,” Northern said. “He demonstrates his commitment to his unit, to his patients, and to the mission every day. SOST is immensely proud of MSgt Blake's accomplishments and SOST is lucky to have such high caliber providers.”

Blake will receive the award in September in Washington, D.C. and will spend the next year as an Air Force ambassador across the country.