MSgt Carole A. Cudnik, USAF
Women have always played a huge role in our military and today CN Salutes one of them, E-7 Master Sergeant Carole A Cudnik.
Cudnik enlisted in 1983 in the USAF delayed-entry program
, and went active duty in August 1984. She went in open general, without a guaranteed job, hoping to land something in the medical field, as Cudnik had worked four years in a hospital prior to entering active duty. After completing a series of written tests in basic training, the Air Force classified her as an Intelligence Analyst.
When Cudnik asked her Training Instructor. "What would I be doing?" The response was “You’re not cleared to know that yet”. Cudnik served from1984-2008 and retired as a E-7 Master Sergeant. What did you like most about serving?
I liked the idea that I was doing something good, and was a part of something bigger. I enjoyed seeing new countries and learning about new cultures. I’ve also made some very dear life-long friendships.
What prompted you to serve?
I’m from a small town in West Virginia. Back in those days, if you had been to Ohio and Pennsylvania, you were well traveled. I wanted to see something more and do something different. What was some of the greatest challenges you faced?
Leaving my family behind, especially when the kids were smaller. I remember leaving for an overseas trip, back when your family could still accompany you to your boarding gate and see you off, my not-quite-two-year-old son yelled “goodbye, Mommy” while I was in line to board. I think I cried for a few hours on that flight. Also, the military lifestyle can be hard on a marriage. My husband and I both had been married before to military spouses, and it was difficult. Right before he and I married, he separated from the Air Force so he could follow me wherever I was sent. What was the most rewarding experience?
Doing things I would never have dreamed of, if I’d stayed in West Virginia, and making some excellent life-long friendships. What was the training and prep for your MOS?
It was a five-month or so training course at Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, TX
. I was there over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays, which added more time overall, since classes were cancelled during those timeframes. How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding?
I had already completed two overseas and one stateside assignment before marriage & kids. My daughter was born in Key West, FL; a few years later we PCS’d (Permanent Change of Station
) to Maryland, where my son was born. For the longest time, my young son thought everyone was connected to the military. Once, when we were driving from Maryland to Michigan to visit my in-laws, I remember him asking what base his grandparents lived on. He was not quite four at the time, and I never realized until then just how “military” we were. He seemed amazed that not everyone was connected with the military. Shortly after our first PCS overseas as a family, I reminded my then pre-teen daughter of a bit of military protocol; she looked me square in the eyes, hands on hips, and said “I got this, Mom; I’ve been doing this military thing my entire life, remember?” We had a good laugh over that one. We did quite a bit of traveling, so the kids saw more than most kids their ages. When we were stationed in England, our family went on a Scout trip to Normandy (Omaha Beach) for a ceremony in honor of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, and my son was selected to lay a wreath during the ceremony. (See below)
My daughter went with the church youth group to Slovakia to teach Vacation Bible School and help rebuild a playground one summer. While they had fun doing new things, they had to sacrifice childhood experiences that their cousins took for granted. Every PCS move was difficult as they left schools and friends they had come to love. My son seemed to go with the flow, but my daughter doesn’t like change; each PCS move was a bit traumatic for her. Now that she’s in college, she’s glad for the experiences she had. Every day I’m thankful for husband; I couldn’t have done this without his support. What opportunities, advantages, or disadvantages did you have after reentering civilian life?
I think my transition to civilian life was easier, as I landed a job as a defense contractor in the same unit from which I’d retired. I really can’t image not living near an Air Force base. I recently gave up contracting life and started my own business. I’m using my Post 911 GI bill to finish my college degree, which always took a back seat to everything else.What is your advice to someone thinking about serving his or her country?
My uncle told me that I couldn’t join until I had talked to a recruiter from all branches of service. I think that was excellent advice. Also, consider the uniqueness of each branch; not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot, but it’s a good bet that if you join the Navy, at some point or another in your career, you’ll be on a ship – so if you get seasick, reconsider your choice or learn to live with it. Also, realize that needs of the military always come first – you might not get the job you want if the military needs you in something else. Last, and most important, don’t let one assignment in your young career influence you, especially if you didn’t like that assignment. Keep an open mind and find positive things about where you’re stationed or what your role is.THANK YOU E-7 MASTER SERGEANT CAROLE A CUDNIK FOR YOUR SERVICE!Today Carole Cudnik is a
Freelance Editor, Proofreader & Researcher in the Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Florida area.
MSgt Cudnik with husband Tracy, daughter Shaina and son Zachary during a Trans-Atlantic Boy Scouts weekend in Normandy, France, for 60th Anniversary of D-Day celebrations.
Welcome Home! 5 Tips for Reintegration Written by Kiona Strickland| October 24, 2011 The day a service member returns home from deployment is one of the happiest and most eagerly anticipated days in the life of any member of a military family.
The following months are a wonderful time full of re-connection and re-discovery, but they can also be stressful and challenging. A family member who has just spent a year in a combat zone needs time to readjust to domestic life, and people who have spent a year apart need time to learn to live together again. The military calls this process reintegration.
Here are some important things to remember to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Above all, remember that you love each other; from love will come patience and understanding, and those things plus communication will see you through deployment, reintegration, and all the other challenges life brings
- Talk about your expectations. Most of us in military circles are familiar with the old adage about what happens when we assume. It is a good idea to discuss reintegration before the service member deploys, throughout the deployment, and just before homecoming. Ask questions as you think of them, and if you catch yourself making an assumption, be sure to discuss it. When my husband returned from this deployment, I expected him to come home, realize what a hard time I had without him, and spend some of his block leave helping around the house and trying to re-instate our romance. He was mentally and emotionally exhausted and seemed to shut down. Conflict ensued which could have been avoided by communication. If your spouse has been through a deployment before, it is a good idea to ask how (s)he usually feels and behaves immediately afterward. Don’t be afraid to talk about anything.
- Avoid major changes. In general, deployed service members say they want to return to the same home they left, so changing it up before they arrive may be disruptive. My husband tells a story about a soldier whose wife liked to prepare for his homecoming by replacing all the household linens. She was trying to make him feel special and give him something nice to return to, which is something we all want to do for our partners; he found it disorienting and frustrating. After multiple deployments, he finally told her that all he wanted was to come back to the same home he left, towels and all. Continuity is important. Try to avoid redecorating or rearranging furniture before homecoming. After the service member comes home, it is still a good idea to avoid major changes- such as moving, getting a new pet, or changing schools or jobs- until you have both adjusted to being together and at home again.
- Respect each other’s experiences. Understand that each of you has endured a great deal during deployment, and you both have healing and recovery to do. The service member has just returned from a completely different world and may have had some very stressful or traumatic experiences; suddenly returning to a domestic setting is a positive change but may still be disorienting. The spouse has just spent a year alone, often without knowing where his/her partner is or whether (s)he is safe, and that experience can take a mental and emotional toll which is often underestimated or overshadowed by the deployment itself. You will both need some time to recover from the immediate effects of those stresses.
- Be patient with each other. You have both just had an incredibly difficult year, and you are both making some major adjustments now. You will both have changed in some ways during the past year, either because of what you have been through or because you have simply developed some new habits and quirks. It will take some time to figure out how to fit those changes into the framework of your life together, and in the meantime they may seem frustrating or even hurtful. Be patient, and communicate tactfully but openly. If you have children, be patient with them, too. It may take some time, especially for very young children, to become comfortable with an adult who has been absent for a year; remember that a year is a very long time when you are only four or five.
- Consider counseling. Seeing a counselor does not mean that your marriage is in trouble or that either of you is “crazy.” Sometimes just having an objective sounding board can help you both understand the other’s perspective, and a counselor can offer more specific advice for your family’s situation.
. Shared from www.militaryfamily.com
A big THANK YOU to all those who have served and have given their lives for our Country in the past and many thanks to those who are serving today in all branches of the Arms Forces. We are proud of you, support you and pray for you!
Lt. Colonel Melody Mount April 2005
Today CN salutes Lt. Colonel Melody Mount. Mount is not just a soldier to me, but a dear friend as well. Over the years I have known her when the Army calls...she's in and serves honorably.Mount shares about her service during her deployments.HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A NURSE?
I have been in nursing for 27 years and in the Army Reserve for coming on 20 years. WHERE WERE YOU MOBILIZED TO?
I worked in the operating room at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC)
in Landsthul Germany. The hospital there serves all of Europe and Southwest Asia. LRMC is the hospital that soldiers who are serving in Afghanistan and were in Iraq are taken if injured or sick and cannot return to duty within a specified time frame. It is one of 2 hospitals that serve routine care for soldiers stationed in the European area, the other one is a smaller hospital with limited specialty care.
The treatment cycle is; in the field at point of injury and then depending on the nature of injury they can be taken to what we call role 2 care where they can receive life/limb saving care including surgery, or they can be taken directly to what we call the role 3 care, the Combat Support Hospital where they can receive more definitive care. As I mentioned earlier, if the injury or illness is such that they cannot be returned to duty within a specified time or they need more specialized care then they are transported back to LRMC. On a rare occasion, mostly with burns do soldiers bypass LRMC and come directly back to the U.S.
Most patients just wanted to get better so they could go back to their units. The biggest things that we were sensitive to in treatment is to make sure that they were not exposed to sudden loud noises, to make sure and let them know where they were when coming out of anesthesia, and good pain control. DOES LRMC FACILITATE ALL BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY?
LRMC treats all branches of the military and also contractors that are serving in the combat zones. They also treat dependents and retirees. LRMC is currently being staffed by Army, Air Force and Navy healthcare providers. YOU ARE BOTH CIVILIAN AND ARMY NURSE, WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT NURSING?
The most rewarding part of my job is just being there for people when they are most vulnerable, going into surgery, and trying to make their experience a good one. Overall as a nurse it is rewarding when I can make patients and family members day better.
THANK YOU LT. COLONEL MOUNT FOR YOUR SERVICE AND TO ALL THOSE WHO SERVE OUR COUNTRY BY TAKING CARE OF OUR SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES!
MORE ABOUT LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
Landstuhl – A Historic City
Landstuhl has a rich past which can be traced to Celtic times. Several sites and discoveries confirm the presence of Roman soldiers during the past. In the Middle Ages, the area consisted of 12 farms and was the property of the Bishop of Worms. In 1518, the city became the property of Franz von Sickinger, the Last German Knight. In 1796, the city was occupied by French forces and later became part of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. After the French defeat at Waterloo, Landstuhl became the property of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The establishment of the German Reich brought wealth to the city, along with the foundation of several breweries and factories. The city was known as a spa resort due to rich mud found around the previously wooded area surrounding Landstuhl. The mud baths healed women suffering from female diseases or arthritis.
WORLD WARs I & II
At the end of World War I, the German soldiers who died in the war were buried in a small cemetery near the chapel in downtown Landstuhl. In 1934, construction of the Mannheim-Saarbrücken Autobahn (a roadway now known as A6) began. In early 1938, the construction of the Hitler Jugend Schule (Hitler Youth School) began here and several buildings on the Landstuhl U.S. Military post still standing today were part of that construction. On March 19, 1945, U.S. troops entered Landstuhl and liberated the city.
On November 28, 1951, 15 medics, who comprised the 320th General Hospital, took operational control of the hospital in Landstuhl. Construction of a 1000-bed American-run hospital began several weeks later. In April, 1952, the area of Kirchberg Kaserne was also designated as Wilson Barracks, in honor of Cpl. Alfred Wilson, an American medic who died in World War II.
Medical Treatment Begins
On March 9, 1953, 375 patients were moved into the not-yet-completed American hospital at Landstuhl. The dedication ceremony took place on April 5, 1953. The following year, the 320th General Hospital was renamed the 2nd General Hospital.
Healthcare during the Cold War
Throughout the Cold War, the 2nd General Hospital continued to expand its structure and modernize its equipment, thus improving its capabilities. The hospital was a staple in the European Theater, providing healthcare during several high-profile incidents. Some of these included the treatment of U.S. Marines injured during the aborted 1980 rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran and those injured in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Soldiers were also treated at the hospital after being injured in the 1986 LaBelle Disco bombing in Berlin, and in 1988, LRMC treated 500 casualties of the now-famous Ramstein Air Show disaster.
LRMC’s Modern Day Role
In 1994, the 2nd General Hospital was deactivated and the center was renamed the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Effective November 2003 the hospital was renamed as the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. LRMC serves as the primary medical treatment center for casualties of U.S. operations within Europe, Southwest Asia and the Middle East. Personnel from all branches of the U.S. military serve here. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the hospital served as a repatriation point for more than 4,000 American casualties and more than 800 U.S. Military personnel deployed to Somalia were treated here. LRMC is a fixed medical facility assisting in the Balkan operations. The hospital treated American and Kenyan victims of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi in August 1998 and played an integral part of the three American POWs repatriation. LRMC Personnel treated the sailors injured in the USS Cole bombing. Currently LRMC provides medical treatment to casualties injured in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
(Current as of June 2009)