Published: November 19, 2008
At the beginning of the Fall 2008 semester, University of Tampa student
Christine Davis thought she would be spending the following weeks
studying for an anatomy class she was taking.
Her plans changed when she was summoned to Texas to assist with evacuation efforts for Hurricane Gustav.
an active duty medical technician in the U.S. Air Force, a life
interrupted is something that Davis is used to. Having worked for the
Air Force for nearly nine years, her various duties have taken her
throughout the U.S. and to places as far away as the Middle East.
have to have my bags packed ahead of time,” Davis said. “They only give
you, at most, 24 hours notice before you get deployed.”
than 12 hours after the initial call, Davis was on a military plane
leaving MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, headed to Texas.
the erratic nature of her deployments, she was granted a temporary
leave of absence from UT. She said she plans to continue her pursuit of a
degree in nursing
in the summer of 2009.
deployment to the Gulf Coast, Davis was part of a 13-person team that
operated a Medical Aerospace Staging Facility (MASF) – a small-scale
hospital that can be quickly set up in any location. The MASF is usually
assembled in an airplane hangar or under the cover of large tents,
where patients are received. The team gathers and cares for patients
from local hospitals before loading them onto military planes to be
After the storm passed, she returned to MacDill
briefly before being called back to the Gulf Coast to prepare for
Hurricane Ike. The team worked nonstop to evacuate patients in a town
that was completely shut down in anticipation of the storm.
48 hours we were working,” she said. “The Salvation Army was there to
give us food. When I could I would pull up a cot to grab a 20 minute
Davis’ first foreign deployment was to the Middle Eastern
country of Oman in 2002 as part of the initial U.S. military operations
in Afghanistan. As part of a command and control post, Davis helped
coordinate “night drops” of humanitarian supplies – including food and
blankets – to the people in Afghanistan.
Two years later, she
was again deployed, this time to Afghanistan itself, where she worked in
a missile control post helping to monitor incoming attacks from enemy
forces. She also spent time in South Korea in support of the troop
When she is not on deployment, Davis works
full-time as an EMT at MacDill’s Brandon, Florida Community Clinic.
Taking classes at UT in the evenings, she hopes to complete enough
prerequisite classes to qualify to become a nurse for the Air Force. At
that point, she will be able to pursue her degree full-time while also
participating in UT’s ROTC program, she said.
Davis said she chose to pursue a nursing degree at UT after the Air Force stationed her at MacDill in January 2007.
loved everything about it,” Davis said. “The classes are small, you get
more personalized attention and the campus is beautiful.”