Every Day Heroes

Jo Turner

Cheryl Ivanov

Meet Staff Sgt. Jo Turner AND Spc. Cheryl Ivanov:

The Story:

When Staff Sgt. Turner and Spc. Ivanov first deployed to Afghanistan as combat medics attached to an Afghan National Army (ANA) brigade, they had a hard time earning respect — especially from Afghan soldiers, who had never seen women in combat before. Yet all that changed as they proved themselves time and again during high-risk missions and during life-saving operations in the midst of battle.

During one patrol, Kandak soldiers were ambushed by insurgents; without hesitation, Turner, who was driving a Humvee for embedded trainers, drove her vehicle directly into the firefight while another soldier manned the weapon in the turret and helped cut off the enemy’s direct line of fire. In another incident, the team responded to an attack on a nearby Kuchi camp. Upon arrival, they saw that instead of hitting the intended American base, insurgents had hit the camp instead, wounding and killing several civilians. Turner and Ivanov quickly began providing medical care to the civilians despite the rockets still crashing down in the area.

Besides providing medical support for the ANA, Afghan police, and U.S. personnel during missions, Turner and Ivanov serve as mentors to ANA healthcare providers and conduct classes for Kandak medics. They also serve in a humanitarian role by coordinating medical assistance for Afghans in nearby villages – an opportunity to make friends with locals and gather intelligence, which has led to actionable information. Ivanov and Turner have both earned Combat Medical Badges for their work under fire. ( here and here)

And in a National Guard story:

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Oregon Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jo Turner (left) and Spc. Cheryl Ivanov are battle buddies who stick together and help each other cope with the emotional and mental stress of combat operations in Afghanistan. (Photo by 1st Lt. Amanda Straub, 41st Brigade Combat Team)

Breaking gender barriers in war:

Female combat medics earn respect from Afghan Army

By 1st Lt. Amanda Straub
41st Brigade Combat Team

GARDEZ, Afghanistan (1/26/2007) – Oregon Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jo Turner, and Spc. Cheryl Ivanov have found a niche in a “Good Ol’ Boys’ Club” while serving in Afghanistan.

Turner, from Springfield, Ore., and Ivanov, from Coos Bay, are female combat medics deployed with Oregon’s 41st Brigade Combat Team. They are attached to the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) 3rd Infantry Kandak, 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps. They provide medical support during missions.

Both women have earned Combat Medical Badges because of their work under fire. They drive armored Humvees for the embedded trainers assigned to the 3rd Kandak during patrols and provide medical support to the ANA, Afghan police, U.S. military personnel and civilians.

Turner and Ivanov also mentor ANA healthcare providers and conduct classes for Kandak medics. They say that because they are women, it was a challenge to earn the respect as an embedded trainer among the Afghan soldiers….

This really IS a great write-up, and you can find the rest on these two Every Day Heroes here.

Thank YOU, Staff Sgt. Turner and Spc. Ivanov for your service.