Patriot Delta exercise prepares aeromedical evacuation units for deployment

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sam Salopek
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The 349th Air Mobility Wing hosted an aeromedical evacuation training exercise, Patriot Delta, on March 24 to 26 here.

“We did the whole ground operations as well as flying for patient movement on a C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker and a C-17 Globemaster III,” said Col. Jeanne LaFountain, 349th AES commander. “The missions included engine-running onload of patients and a tail swap.”

Additionally, the AES teams faced an unexpected emergency patient who needed to be transported to the next level of care, said LaFountain.

“We also provided aircraft familiarization on the C-5 Super Galaxy and the KC-10 Extender,” said LaFountain. “These are aircraft we don’t routinely transport patients on. Because Travis has both of these aircraft on this base, we decided it would be a good opportunity for the other units who have probably not been on those aircraft to see what capabilities they have.”

Patriot Delta provided a joint training environment for squadrons that have the same air expeditionary force cycle to build comradery and share best practices.

The exercise included the 349th AES from Travis AFB, California; the 908th AES from Maxwell AFB, Alabama; the 911th AES from Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania; the 932nd and 375th AES from Scott AFB.

In addition, the 349th Air Mobility Operation Squadron and the active-duty 60th Inpatient Squadron here participated.

Patriot Delta fulfilled operational needs to include patient movement and communication between command and control, aeromedical operation team and the medical treatment facility, said Maj. Maria Vazquez, 349th AES flight nurse. Communication between those three command cells is vital to inpatient movement for safety, efficiency and productivity.

The 349th AES wanted to make the exercise as real world as possible, said Capt. Siobhan Bergeron, 349th AES flight nurse.

“Playing with the active duty and practicing the way we operate in real contingency environment is more vital than just training,” said Vazquez.

“It’s refreshing to train while incorporating both active duty and reserve components because when we deploy it’s mixed in that facet as well,” said Bergeron.

At the end of the exercise units came together for a hot wash to discuss lessons learned and where they can improve, said LaFountain.

“I think it’s important that we be patience with one another,” said Bergeron. “I think we’ve seen that, as well as being flexible while identifying training gaps.”

“I’m hoping that the takeaway after this exercise is that this is a valuable way to train, and that we can expand it out to make this a larger total force type of training,” said LaFountain.