By Butch Wehry
Academy Spirit staff
Although her voluntary deployment to Afghanistan ended in October 2009, a medical technician with the 10th Aerospace Medicine Squadron continues to reflect on what she saw and did there.
Senior Airman Sabrina Lyon recalls the way women are treated and how little the population has.
“The women are treated with no rights, and families didn’t even have shoes to give to their children, let alone the adults,” said the three-year Air Force veteran from Oakhurst, Calif.
Assigned to a U.S. Army Special Forces unit, Airman Lyon became a medic for local Afghan women.
“We saw locals every day,” she said. “I was able to interact with the local females and try to boost their confidence. I was invited to some of the women’s homes for meals, and some of them brought us stuff at the clinic.” She also learned many medical skills from Army Special Forces medics.
“Work out there was somewhat relaxed,” Airman Lyon said. “It was very slow-paced, though we had two traumas while I was there.”
She married her Army husband, Army Sgt. Daniel Lyon, before deploying. He deployed to Iraq two months prior to her return in October. Being away from her family was one of the hardest parts of her deployment, she said – the other was boredom.
“You have a lot of time on your hands, so we played (table tennis) and watched movies,” she said.
She noticed several differences between East and West during her deployment.
“The men there had almost no respect for women,” she said, and (there are) some cultural differences you cannot fix.”
Her average days was wake-up at 6 a.m., then breakfast and clinic work and lunch from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Morale time was 1 to 4 p.m., with physical training from 4 to 6 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and to bed at 7 p.m.
The deployment had its satisfying aspects, like “being able to see the women become more confident, and have the men appreciate what Americans do,” she said.
“It was great to see little girls ask questions and just admire the American women and have hope that maybe someday they can get educated and be able to do something they have dreamt to do,” she added.
She said she believes all Airmen should have the chance to deploy, and that her experience gave her “the confidence and the appreciation of being an American.”
“There is a lot more than the normal 9-to-5 job sitting behind a desk,” she said. “You also get to experience things that you will never be able to do here in the states. It opens your eyes: you really see how the military comes together and how America is a helping lend a hand to others.”