Deja assumes command, 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jessica Kendziorek
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

Lt. Col. Deborah S. Deja assumed command of the 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron during a ceremony held at the Keesler Medical Center Jan. 13.

Col. Brian A. May, 403rd Operations Group commander, presided over the ceremony.

“Today is a day to celebrate Deja taking command, which is huge and is a choice that no one takes lightly,” said May. “Stepping up and wanting to lead this group is a no-brainer. It is amazing, what you here at the 36th AES do, stateside and overseas.”

The 36th AES specializes in moving critically ill or injured troops after they have been stabilized or received damage-control surgery using specialized medical teams that include a medical crew director, flight nurse and three aeromedical evacuation technicians, who provide medical care during air transport.

In 1994 Deja graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, then commissioned into the Air Force in 1996.  Deja also deployed in support of operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve.

“My focus is going to be on readiness. We are going to work to increase the current training and practice in both tactical and austere locations to ensure our Citizen Airmen are prepared when the time comes to deploy,” said Deja. 

“Deja was highly recommended,” said May.  “By putting the 36th AES in her hands we can expect fantastic results as she joins the 403rd team.”

Before assuming command, Deja served as the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron director of operations at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where she oversaw the flying operations, operations support, and the training for the ground and aircrew of the 433rd AES.

 “This is only my second UTA here, and I feel at home already,” said Deja. “Not just the comradery of the 36th AES, but of the Wing itself, is outstanding and I am so happy to be here.  And so having said that.”

Deja closed with a shouted “Air Evac!” and a shouted “Bring ‘em back!” rang throughout the room in response from the 36th AES members.