Fairchild Airman receives Bronze Star

A Fairchild physician was awarded the Bronze Star Medal here recently for her service during Operation Enduring Freedom at Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul from June 2011 to March 2012.

When asked about her medal, Capt. (Dr.) Leslee Kane, a Bozeman, Mont., native humbly said, “I was just doing my job like everyone else.”

The captain was recognized as the senior medical officer on-site during a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack. Kane helped coordinate traumatic brain injury screenings for more than 75 people in response to the attack and returned them to duty within 72 hours. She led three medics, a physician’s assistant and numerous others during the triage and treatment of mass casualties and including 17 local national patients and coordinated evacuation of two U.S. military and three local national casualties to medical treatment facilities.

She was also the female engagement team lead responsible for mentoring Zabul’s Department of Women Affairs line director. The captain helped lecture a medical series for 10 Afghan female medical providers, which fostered working relationships between the Afghan health sector and people of Zabul.

“My main job was to work with the regional directors advocating for the women in the cities we would tour,” she said. “As our team traveled through these cities, I would take time to talk with the women of the city to get a feel for how well their city leaders were spreading the medical care among all the villagers.”

The captain also organized and oversaw long-term, culturally-appropriate economic projects directly benefiting more than 150 women and their families in the Zabul area.

“She’s an excellent performer,” said Col. Blake Ortner, who was a member of her leadership team while deployed. “Captain Kane went well beyond her normal duties. Her contributions to the … programs were outstanding.”

While she excelled down range, the captain missed her family no less. She said online video chatting was a welcome tool they used to keep in touch, but due to the nature of her mission, internet was not always available and 13 months away from her family was difficult.

“Family aside, I would do it again in a heartbeat,” the wife and mother of two said. “But only if I were a single Airman. I’d have a hard time being away from my family for that long again.”

Not only did she miss her family, but back home, her family and unit missed her.

“We are very excited to have her home,” said Maj. Marc Weishaar, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron commander. “It is awesome to see the great care she provides her patients here at Fairchild is the same great quality of care she provided to her patients while deployed.”

[Editor’s Note: The Bronze Star Medal is a U.S. Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit or meritorious service.]

Published by Benjamin W. Stratton

I'm a photojournalist traveling the world sharing what I experience along the way.

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