Nurse reports for duty
Published in the Home News Tribune 5/29/04
Perth Amboy pupils cheer Capt. Ramos
By SUZANNE C. RUSSELL
PERTH AMBOY: Rosa Ramos is trading in her roomy nurse's office at the Anthony V. Ceres Elementary School for the cramped quarters inside an airplane used to transport soldiers wounded in Iraq to medical facilities -- at least for the next 60 days.
Ramos, a captain in the Air Force Reserve, will report to McGuire Air Force Base on Wednesday and expects to leave on June 9 for Iraq, where she will work as a flight nurse transporting patients.
"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to taking part," said Ramos, 38, who is also sad about leaving her husband, Ismael Caraballo, and two school-age children, Cristian and Odalis, as well as her Ceres School family.
Yesterday, school administrators, staff and pupils dressed in red, white and blue gave her a patriotic send-off that included songs, poems, flags and even three cheers for Ramos, the school's nurse for the past four years. She received flowers from nurse Beth Dispoto and school officials announced yellow ribbons would hang on the school door until she safely returns home.
"We're here to commend Capt. Rosa Ramos for her dedication to our country," said Superintendent of Schools John M. Rodecker. "We wish her the best of luck and health. We wait for the day she comes back to us."
Principal Gerald Chismar said the world will be a better place with Ramos serving in Iraq.
"It's great," said Ramos' sister, Lillian Ramos, a secretary in the Perth Amboy Police Department's Detective Bureau. "I'm really proud of her. She's a wonderful mother, sister and friend. We're all so proud of her."
The two sisters hugged each other tightly after the ceremony.
Ramos, who has served in the Air Force Reserve for seven years, was notified in March that she was needed to serve in Iraq.
"I like the military," said Ramos, a Perth Amboy resident who formerly saw active duty with the Navy. She joined the Air Force Reserve when her family began to grow.
"It's an opportunity to provide nursing skills 28,000 feet in the air. It's like no other feeling in the world," said Ramos, adding she likes helping men and women in the military be able to come back home.
Ramos said she will work to keep patients stable as they are being moved from one location to another. The planes are cramped with cargo and military equipment and are not pressurized like commercial planes.
She expects to be gone 60 days but knows her time could be extended. She said the government has put a lot of money into training her and she wants to show it's been well spent.
"You get the work done. I'm looking forward to it," said Ramos who has previously served in Turkey, Spain, Italy and Germany doing transports. "You go wherever they need you."