Aircrew, medical Airmen train together at Pacific Lifeline 2018
By Jerry Bynum, 624th Regional Support Group
/ Published July 18, 2018
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron here received hands-on practice recently with medical staging and patient transportation at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point as part of Pacific Lifeline 2018.
Pacific Lifeline 2018 is a statewide medical exercise in Hawaii conducted as part of the larger 2018 Rim of the Pacific Exercise, and for the 624th ASTS, provided an opportunity to refine skills, improve teamwork and build cooperation with other units.
“These types of opportunities help prepare our Airmen to work seamlessly within a diverse team,” said Col. Lee Bradshaw, the 624th ASTS commander. “The aeromedical evacuation crew helped us break down what we were doing, and why we were doing it. It helps us all work together so we’re ready to deploy at any time as a Total Force team.”
The 624th ASTS, which provides personnel to support worldwide operations, provided the ground support and medical staging element to the event. It gave Airmen a chance to work with an operational aircraft, in this case a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. Training with aeromedical evacuation personnel, a medical crew director, and engaging with aircraft aircrews helps Airmen prepare for deployments and support for live missions.
“Doing this gives units the chance to work with an actual mission-ready aircraft,” said Senior Master Sgt. Suzanne Redd, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command Aeromedical Evacuation operations manager. “These type of static missions help Airmen learn how to load patients and work together as a team with everyone involved in the aeromedical evacuation mission. It helps familiarize ASTS units with safety issues, how to work with critical care patients, and manage patient flow.”
Bringing Airmen together from different units also helped improve team dynamics and strengthens unit cohesion, according to the Airmen who participated. They had the chance to learn different levels of responsibility and leadership skills.
“It was a great experience for what we do as an ASTS,” said Senior Airman Anuhea Primacio, an aerospace medical technician with the 624th ASTS. “It also provided an excellent leadership opportunity and exposed us to working with Airmen from other units. It reinforces my confidence in knowing we can work together in a real-world environment.”
The training provided Primacio, and other Airmen, the chance to act as a team chief during the event. Team chiefs are responsible for running ground operations for patient staging and offloading patients from an aircraft. Aeromedical evacuation instructors provided hands on experience and demonstration, which included proper mechanics of how to handle various patient situations, and work with a Critical Care Air Transport Team.
“These types of events reinforce our skills for our Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Regan Ramos, 624th ASTS education and training chief. “It lets Airmen know they can work with anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
This portion of Pacific Lifeline 2018 provided support and continuity of medical care for patient movements for the exercise. Participants included Airmen from the 624th ASTS, which is part of the 624th Regional Support Group, the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 62nd Airlift Wing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, the 452nd AES from March Air Reserve Base, California, the 315th AES from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, the 943rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and staff from Air Force Reserve Command.