Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Brandon Goggans, left, a team member with Security Force Assistance Advisor Team 2-215, and Gunnery Sgt. Guadalupe E. Pineda III, the engineer chief for SFAAT 2-215, stand in front of a table that they built for Afghan National Army medical staff with 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, aboard Forward Operating Base Nolay, Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 21, 2014. The table will increase casualty-care capacity and is the second of two tables delivered to the Afghan medics.

Photo by Cpl. Joshua Young

Two Texas Marines build medical tables for Afghan medics

26 Mar 2014 | Cpl. Joshua Young

A team of Afghan National Army medics often receives multiple casualties, yet has only two good medical tables and one in disrepair on which to treat patients. With limited resources and logistics, it’s difficult to increase their potential casualty-care capacity. 

Petty Officer 1st Class David Morales, the senior enlisted medical advisor with Security Force Assistance Advisor Team 2-215, and Navy Lt. j.g. James M. Nicholson, medical advisor for the medical team with 2nd Brigade, 215th Corps, ANA, noticed their limited ability to treat patients, so they turned to Gunnery Sgt. Guadalupe E. Pineda III for help. 

“At first I was kind of like, eh, we don’t want to do too much for them. We need to let them do it on their own,” said Pineda, the engineer chief for SFAAT 2-215, referring to the unit’s guidance to allow the ANA soldiers to become more self-sufficient by resolving their own concerns. “Then they explained to me that by building a medical table, it’s going to increase their patient capacity by 33 percent, so they’ll have enough to accommodate four injured ANA soldiers.”

After realizing the full impact extra tables could have in helping not only the soldiers but also civilians in the area, Pineda, who is from San Antonio, Texas, agreed to build a table. His first step in the building process was to recruit some help. Pineda asked around for anyone who was willing and able to help him build a table and Lance Cpl. Brandon Goggans, a team member with SFAAT 2-215, answered his plea. 

Goggans, 20, from Winnsboro, Texas, who serves as part of the security force at Forward Operating Base Nolay, spends most of his time providing security and protecting the base from potential threats. Due to this demanding position, his free time is limited, but he was willing to give the time he had to ensure the ANA medics got their table. 

“I believe it shows we’re here to help them increase their survivability and allow them to do more with what they have,” said Goggans, who is stationed out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., as an amphibious assault vehicle crewman with 2nd AA Bn. “We’re not just here to look pretty and stand by them, but we’re actually here to help them.”

After the Marines and corpsmen delivered the table to the ANA medical staff, the staff immediately removed one of their old tables out of the room. Morales asked them why they were getting rid of it, and they said it was not sturdy and too dangerous to use. Morales quickly offered to have the Marines build one more table if they promised they would use the two good tables they had and the two new ones. 

When Morales approached Pineda and Goggans about the situation, they both quickly agreed to build another table after having seen how happy they were about the first table.

“I can’t speak any higher about Pineda and Goggans,” said Morales, a 14-year sailor from El Paso, Texas. “They did a phenomenal job in building the two tables; they built them really sturdy. I think they’re going to last for years and years to come.”

Upon delivery of the second table, the ANA medical staff met Pineda with a handshake, smiles and a big hug.

“They were excited,” said Pineda, who is stationed out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., as a combat engineer with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion. “They were happy. They gave me a hug, and I’ve only met them only once or twice. They really appreciated it because I think they knew what it was going to do to help them win the war.”

“It feels good,” Goggans said. “This is why I volunteered to come out here.”