Published Saturday, 27 April 2013
Territorial Army medics return to Belfast from Afghanistan. (© Pacemaker)
The 30 volunteers operated within the biggest army medical facility in the war zone, Camp Bastion, where they escaped a rocket attack in February.
The unit is made up of consultants, surgeons, doctors, anaesthetists, nurses and radiographers from across Northern Ireland's five main health trusts.
On Saturday, they returned to their base at Hydebank in south Belfast, and Colonel Alan Black,Commanding Officer of 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital, said there is no difference between regular and reserve members.
He said: "I have never been asked by a patient whether the doctor or nurse treating them is regular or reserve.
"From the perspective of the seriously ill patient with the heart attack in the emergency department, or the soldier brought in from the battlefield with severe blast injuries from an improvised explosive device, their principal concern is that they should get the best possible care.
"This is exactly what they get and I have no doubt that many people were saved in Bastion who would simply have not survived elsewhere."
The Northern Ireland-based soldiers worked alongside regular and reservists from across the UK, as well as medical staff from the US Army, US Marine Corps and Danish Armed Forces to treat troops, Afghan nationals and Taliban insurgents wounded on the front line.
© UTV News