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445th Airmen participate in joint-force training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Erin Zimpfer
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 445th Aeromedical Evacuation and Staging Squadrons joined forces with the Army National Guard and active-duty Airmen from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in a combined real-world simulation training held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio May 14, 2022.

According to Master Sgt. Charles Kilgore, 445th AES medical technician, every AE team member has a specific role to perform in order to get ready for patient movement. A typical AES team consists of a medical crew director, or MCD, two flight nurses and three aeromedical technicians.

Before heading to the flightline, the two Critical Care Air Transport (CCAT) teams from ASTS, the MCD, aeromedical technicians and flight nurses from AES held a detailed pre-flight briefing to discuss the equipment and medical needs of the incoming patients.

Additionally, the medical personnel must perform equipment checks to ensure everything is in working order. For medical evacuation purposes, the C-17 Globemaster IIIs work as a flying hospital and everything needs to be choreographed down to the minute details. Things such as equipment weight on the aircraft and where to place the patient litters for flight, along with patient oxygen needs require coordination with the loadmaster for the aircraft.

The training also included an Army Blackhawk helicopter that landed at Wright-Patterson to allow the simulation of offloading critically injured patients known as a Dustoff, or emergency evacuations of casualties from a combat zone. The guardsmen were from the Charlie Company 2nd General Support Battalion 104th Aviation Regiment.

“We have a flight medic company and the plan was to come out and simulate transports to familiarize the Air Force side with our medical platforms and our guys with the Air Force side of things,” said Maj. David Wray, flight surgeon with the 104th. “It provides us the opportunity for both of our services to familiarize themselves with how each operates in a patient transport environment.”

Four active duty Airmen were also included in the training flight with two doctors training and evaluating the two CCAT teams. Along with personnel, USAFSAM also provided extensive equipment for the training.

“We can come in and allow the CCAT teams to fully dive into the scenarios and get true nuts and bolts training with their counterparts. We can come in and increase the fidelity and the evaluation to give them better feedback so they don’t have to step out of roll to instruct,” said Lt. Col. Derek Sorensen, medical director for the initial in-flight care division in the in-route care training department, USAFSAM.

Working in concert with the 445th has been a long-standing commitment between the two entities. Sorensen said they’ve been flying with the 445th AES since December 2017, with a few month pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have launched a total of 41 missions over that time with a total of 852 total force personnel trained.

“It’s been a really great relationship, really great fusion of training working with both 445th medical squadrons. Most of the time when we have been coming out, we are bringing instructors from USAFSAM and getting them good experience on evaluating in operational missions and folks that may get deployed are able to get to practice what they are supposed to be able to do in real world situations.

In addition to the evaluations for the CCAT teams, some of the AE members were being given their “check rides” on the flight. The medical personnel must follow specific procedures and checklists to ensure proper care is being given to the patients in transport. The ability to coordinate all of this must flow seamlessly as it really is a matter of life and death in critical situations.

“The opportunity to train in concert with joint service components really highlights what the total force can do when we come together,” said Col. Tory Woodard, USAFSAM commander.