Oakwood Annapolis welcomes reservist back from Afghanistan

What a difference a year makes.

When Jeremy Johnston clocked into Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne on Monday, the paramedic technician found a renovated Emergency Department and a new electronic medical records system to get used to.

Johnston, however, is adept at handling change in a fast-paced environment. He spent the last year deployed in Afghanistan as a First Sergeant in the Army Reserves 948th Forward Surgical Team; he was the highest non-commissioned officer on the 20-member unit.
Johnston returned from his deployment near the end of 2012; he has spent the past month getting re-acclimated and spending time with his wife, daughter and young son.

“It took some time to get re-oriented,” he said of the renovated ER and new OakCare electronic medical records system that went live at Annapolis in November. “I’m just looking forward to going back to work with all my old co-workers.”

A Forward Surgical Team is similar to a M.A.S.H. unit, but smaller and more nimble. They are usually deployed near the front lines, as was Johnston’s case. His unit was stationed in Asadabad, about five miles from the Pakistani border.

“We go where the fighting is,” he said. “It was weekly occurrence, getting bombed or shot at or something like that.”
Johnston has worked at Annapolis since 2005. This was the second deployment for the Eagle Scout, whose service has earned him a Bronze Star. He said it’s difficult to leave his family behind—particularly during the recent deployment when his wife, Juliet, gave birth to his son Athrun. Johnston was not on leave during that occasion, but was able to witness it via skype.

The staff at Annapolis hosted a welcome back party for Johnston last Thursday. Eric Widner, division president of Oakwood Annapolis Hospital, said it was a privilege to do it.

“As an American, I am deeply grateful for Jeremy's service to our country. As a health system, we are committed to honoring his service by supporting a program which encourages a healthy transition back into the workplace,” said Widner. “We are proud knowing Jeremy is delivering excellent care to our patients.”

CUTLINES: Staff Sgt. Jeremy Johnston (top) takes the cake--and cuts it--at a welcome back party at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital. Johnston, a paramedic technician, was deployed in Afghanistan in 2012 and returned to work in February, 2013.

Jeremy Johnston's wife, Juliet, daughter, Lucienne, and new son, Athrun welcomed him back to the states at the end of 2012. Athrun was born while Johnston was deployed in Afghanistan, but he was able to witness the birth via skype.