445th AW, 911th AW medical teams participate in Steel Buckeye

  • Published
  • By Stacy Vaughn
  • 445th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs

Approximately 65 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 445th Aeromedical Evacuation and Aeromedical Staging Squadrons trained with their counterparts from the 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, at two locations during Steel Buckeye, August 2-3.

Two missions were conducted each day, one for each AE unit. One mission took off from Pittsburgh ARS with their AES onboard their wing’s C-17 Globemaster III bound for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The other mission took off from Wright-Patterson, bound for Pittsburgh ARS with the 445th AES onboard a 445th C-17. Once at their location, the AES Airmen onboard the C-17 conducted patient movements with the ASTS Airmen assigned at that location. After the patients were loaded/unloaded, the C-17s flew back to their respective locations.

Maj. Darren DeCarlo, 911th ASTS special projects officer, said the idea for their unit to train with another wing on patient movements and run various scenarios with both AES and ASTS units came from Col. Steven Theohares, 911th ASTS commander, who was previously the 445th AES commander. Maj. Nathaniel Copen, 445th AES director of operations/flight nurse evaluator, said the 911th AES and 911th ASTS reached out to him about the idea of collaborating with them and both wings got the ball rolling. Copen said they started coordinating the event since spring, working out all the times for flights and how much ground time would be available for patient movement at each location.

“This was a great opportunity for our Airmen to work with another Reserve unit. We were asked if we’d like to conduct some aeromedical readiness missions and provide the 445th ASTS and 911th ASTS the opportunity to conduct ground operations with the patients from the 445th AES and the 911th AES,” Copen said.

The 445th ASTS critical care air transport team and the 911th ASTS CCATT were also involved with the training, flying with their respective AE crews. When patients require extra attention, a CCATT of a critical care physician, critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist augment the AE crew to provide intensive care unit type attention during air transport.

Patient loads of 10-12 litters were moved from each location.

“The objectives we set out for the training were met. Any issues that came up we were able to work together to resolve. This event was also a great opportunity for both AES units to work with the CCATT, running and executing various scenarios together,” DeCarlo said.

Capt. Shanice Jackson, 445th AES flight nurse, said when they landed at Pittsburgh, the engines were still running as they initiated the transfer of patients on and off the aircraft in approximately 15 minutes before taking off again.

“It was a very quick process. We didn’t have time to interact much with the 911th Airmen but it was a smooth process,” Jackson said.

“Overall, this training will enhance the mission capabilities of each squadron and increase our overall readiness for future patient movements. This will continue to build upon the relationships we have with other AES and ASTS throughout the 4th Air Force,” Copen said.

“I was very appreciative of the fact that I was able to work in a new environment and gain more experience in a leadership type role. My flight was patient with me and helped coach me along the way,” said Senior Airman Olivia Pietras, 445th ASTS aerospace medical service technician.

Senior Airman Preston Sanders, 445th AES medical technician said the training provided real-world experience for her and her fellow Airmen.

“I hope we can do this again in the near future. The exercise, as a whole, prepared us for the real world. I’d like to see more of this type of training in the future,” Sanders said.