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W.Va. Air National Guard medical personnel receive valuable, joint training during Sentry Storm 19

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. De-Juan Haley
  • West Virginia National Guard
Members of the West Virginia Air National Guard participated in a CASEVAC, or casualty evacuation, exercise during Sentry Storm 19, held July 20 at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport.

Sentry Storm brings military assets from around the country to train in West Virginia in areas such as conducting joint aircrew and mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, personnel recovery, and support services readiness training for domestic operations. Additionally, Sentry Storm overlaps with the World Scout Jamboree, held July 22 through Aug. 2, to offer airlift and medical support, should an emergency arise.

Members of the 167th Medical Group (MDG), and the 130th Airlift Wing’s (AW) 167th Aeromedical Squadron (AES), practiced the proper procedures to transport a patient to a C-130H. This involved coordinating with West Virginia Army National Guard and local civilian medical partners.

Capt. Keith Michael, team chief and officer in charge of the en-route patient staging system or ERPS, assigned to the 167th MDG, led a group of about 14 members in the training. ERPS can stage patients in the field prior to going on an aircraft for an evacuation mission, in addition to providing the manpower to load patients into the aircraft.

For some members, this training has proven invaluable, as there are many members that are new to the unit.

“We have four members that have never done this type of training before, and a few of them have never flown on a C-130,” said Michael. “So, getting their first interaction with AES, and how operations are done is a great training experience.”

In addition to working with the ERPS team, AES was able to network and train with the critical care air transport team or CCATT, from the 167th Airlift Wing. A CCATT is used when the military transports critical patients by air. They augment the aeromedical evacuation team by offering a critical care physician, critical care nurse, and a respiratory therapist. The Air Force is the only branch to have a CCATT and the 167th AW recently stood up a CCATT team at the unit.

For Staff Sgt. Loy Nelson, 167th AES aeromedical evacuation technician, it was his first time working with a CCATT team.

“Learning their capabilities and how our two worlds can mesh together to create a higher level of care in the air is an amazing thing,” said Nelson. “With the CCATT being able to take higher acuity patients, that means less time people have to spend downrange trying to stabilize out. We can get them home quicker to facilities that can provide better care.”

Michael noted that the ability to work with state agencies is a great experience for all participants.

“Its great because we get to exercise all the resources available in the state,” Michael said. “This allows us to show our civilian partners the assets that we have and what we can bring to the table in times of emergencies.”

Sentry Storm will continue until August 2.