911th medical units unite for training
By Staff Sgt. Christopher Johns, 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
/ Published March 30, 2006
PITTSBURGH AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- Typically, the 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron (ASTS) and 911th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) perform exercises in their separate and unique squadrons. Most recently though, they decided to unite in their efforts and engage in a mass casualty patient movement exercise.
Patriot Care 2006 instituted several exercise attack scenarios, and incorporated real-world patient movement alongside simulated injuries and treatment.
As the ASTS prepared to launch their ground movement mission, AES nurses obtained information regarding patients’ injuries, types of medications, and special needs considerations for their “flight.” The patients were then transported by bus and ambulance to an awaiting C-130. The AES medical technicians received numerous “patients” from ASTS litter carriers who assisted the aircrew members in loading the patients onto litter stanchions for “transport.”
Behind the scenes, medical administration personnel from both squadrons provided the necessary “network backbone” for the exercise. Administrative personnel were responsible for tracking patient conditions, aircraft landing and takeoff times, as well as patient loading plans and numbers. All communications and movement throughout the exercise were coordinated through these control centers.
The 2006 Patriot Care joint exercise incorporated the 911th Airlift Wing’s civilian Emergency Medical Services Provider, Valley Ambulance Authority, for the first time in its history. Two civilian paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians were able to interact with their military counterparts in order to gain a better understanding of what our patient mission is.
The Valley Ambulance personnel also brought along two ambulances, which afforded AES and ASTS personnel the opportunity to check out loading and unloading options on civilian equipment.
Also supporting the exercise was the 99th Regional Readiness Command, United States Army Reserve. The 99th RRC provided several two and a half ton trucks as well as two High-Mobility, Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, also known as Humvees. These vehicles were utilized during patient movement portions of the exercise, to simulate the vehicles of opportunity that ASTS personnel may be forced to use in the field. The trucks also afforded the opportunity to train and certify personnel on the operation of these military vehicles.
“I think it was a good exercise, all the way around,” said Maj. Mike Fath, senior air reserve technician (ART) with the AES. This opinion was mirrored by the majority of participants during the post-exercise hot-wash.
ASTS Medical Readiness officer Maj. Bethanne Meyer-McCabe said, “I think everything went very well. Everyone exhibited a positive attitude throughout the exercise.” Several issues were discussed on how to improve exercise safety and content.
Planning for the Patriot Care 2007 exercise is already underway.