It has been a relentless six months in Afghanistan for Leading Seaman Medic Tahnee White, but her efforts while deployed have earned her the admiration of her Coalition peers and an American Joint Service Achievement Medal from US Special Forces.
Originally from Grasstree Beach in Queensland, Leading Seaman White always knew she wanted to be a medic in the Navy.
“I didn’t even choose a second preference, I was sure that was what I wanted,” Leading Seaman White said.
Leading Seaman White was deployed to the Role 2 hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she was told she would be detached to a nearby airbase for more than a month.
There she supported the coalition Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan alongside US troops deployed to NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan.
She held the position of medical non-commissioned officer-in-charge for the Command Surgeon’s Office Clinic within the US medical facility where she provided advice on medical issues affecting the command.
Leading Seaman White was awarded a Joint Service Achievement Medal, with Combat device, a military decoration usually reserved for the US Armed Forces. The medal is awarded by a local commander to junior officers and enlisted personnel for ‘outstanding achievement or meritorious service performed under combat conditions’.
The Command Surgeon, US Army Lieutenant Colonel Devin McFadden, recognised her drive to deliver first aid training to other troops and civilians working in the area while under constant threat of indirect fire.
“Leading Seaman White excelled in her everyday sick-call duties, in addition she prepared incoming personnel to provide self-aid and buddy-aid if wounded and she was a tremendous asset to the team,” Lieutenant Colonel McFadden said.
“Her efforts ensured that command did not miss a beat in the accomplishment of its medical mission.”
A long way from any ship, Leading Seaman White found the high-tempo environment equally challenging and rewarding.
“Some of the people working in the threat area are hearing about this kind of casualty treatment for the first time,” she said.
“I found it extremely fulfilling to know that these people are now so much better off knowing what to do and where to go if a situation should arise,” Leading Seaman White said.
Leading Seaman White said her priority was to do what she could to keep people safe and she never thought she would be receiving a medal from her US counterparts.
“The award was a surprise to me, every time I look at the medal it reminds me of my time in Afghanistan,” Leading Seaman White said.