Canadian Forces medical technician serving in Afghanistan

2012/03/07 • Comments
By Gary Hengstler
Kabul Military Training Centre
Canadian Forces Medical Technician Cpl Christine Borkowski takes measures the blood pressure of a soldier stationed at Camp Alamo in Kabul, Afghansitan. (Image by Master Cpl. Chris Ward)

Canadian Forces Medical Technician Cpl Christine Borkowski measures blood pressure of a soldier stationed at Camp Alamo in Kabul, Afghansitan. (Image by Master Cpl. Chris Ward)

With a smiling, reassuring face, she places the thermometer in the soldier’s mouth and tightens the wrap around his arm to take his blood pressure. “Most likely, you’ve got the virus that is going around the camp,” she says, “but we’ll check you out.”

Cpl. Christie Borkowski, from 150 Mile House, B.C., is living the twin goals she set for herself in her youth – a medical and military career.

A medical technician with 1 Field Ambulance from Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, Cpl. Borkowski is serving inAfghanistanwith the Canadian Forces contribution to the NATO training mission.

Cpl. Borkowski works in the unit medical station at Camp Alamo, the coalition camp located within the Afghan National Army’s Kabul Military Training Centre on the east side of Kabul. She has served in the Army – wearing an Air Force uniform – for four years and plans to make the military a career.

Cpl. Borkowski’s introduction to medicine was first aid training during a babysitting course she took at the age of 12.

“I always enjoyed the medical field,” said Cpl. Borkowski. “I kept up with my first aid training all through high school and I took some athletic first aid courses. I was part of a volunteer fire department back home for four years, both as a first responder and as a firefighter.”

“I grew up near my grandfather’s ranch where I had to do a lot of veterinary type of stuff for the horses and cows,” said Cpl. Borkowski. “It was great.”

Her family encouraged her passion for the military. “Both of my grandfathers were in the Royal Canadian Air Force… with my interest in medicine, I just sort of fell into combining the two.”

Although some Canadian Forces medical personnel serving on the training mission have duties advising Afghan Army doctors and support staff, Cpl. Borkowski’s role is different. “I serve in an integral support role, supporting our troops,” she said. “This deployment has been different than what I had expected.”

“I came prepared to treat injuries like they had seen in southern Afghanistan battling insurgents,” said Cpl. Borkowski. “But our mission is now in a training role. That means we see things like viruses and sprains – things you normally see back in Canadain a walk-in clinic on a base.”

Cpl. Borkowski’s smile these days likely seems even brighter because she is nearing the end of her five month deployment. By the end of March she will return toEdmontonwhere she and her fiancé will finish planning their summer wedding. Like Cpl. Borkowski, her fiancé Pte. Adam Blackwell ofSt. Thomas, Ont., is a medical technician in the Canadian Army.

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Category: Gender, News - Afghan National Army, News - Medical, Uncategorized

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