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Dover AFB first in AMC to host new medical exercise

  • Published
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Dover AFB is the first Air Mobility Command base to conduct Readiness Exercises and Assessments in a Goal-oriented Learning Environment (Ready EAGLE) since the COVID-19 outbreak Oct. 8-9, 2020.

The Dover AFB Medical Contingency Response Program team and other units of the 436th Medical Group participated in Ready EAGLE.

First developed in 2019, Ready EAGLE is an initiative developed by the Air Force Medical Service preparedness and response oversight committee to reinvigorate installation medical response programs.

“Ready EAGLE is about developing the confidence and skill set to enhance our response capability,” said Lt. Col. Kristen Carter, 436th Medical Support Squadron commander. “It’s designed as a crawl-walk-run program with seminars, equipment reviews and tabletops, leading to a full-scale exercise at the end of the week, all designed to enhance our response capability.”

Ready EAGLE implements robust, hands-on tools and training in support of full-spectrum medical readiness, said Maj. Harold Brown, 436th Medical Support Squadron medical readiness officer. Brown and his readiness team facilitated the Ready EAGLE visit.

“We’ve been working with our MAJCOM POC [Major Command Point-of-Contact] and our Ready EAGLE team for over a year, and my readiness office has been working diligently with the base, wing and our counterparts at [the] MAJCOM to make sure this is a success,” said Brown.

Airmen that participated gained skills in patient decontamination, patient tracking, triage, disease containment and much more.

Ready EAGLE prepares the Air Force’s medical assets for installation medical response to all hazards, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

“Training, lesson plans and other tools … give Air Force medics the ability to have the confidence and the cohesion that we need so much,” said Martin Schelling, Air Mobility Command medical emergency manager. “So, as you go from Air Force facility to Air Force facility, it is the same skills and the same program.”

The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges while planning Ready EAGLE. Participants wore masks and socially distanced themselves to help mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 crisis has dynamically changed our entire world,” said Schelling. “When we were confronted with this crisis, we naturally wanted to rely on our planning and training that we had performed for years. We’ve had to go on a six- or seven-month hiatus from doing hands-on exercises and training.”

To mitigate the risk of COVID-19, the 436th Medical Group ensured that all participants wore masks and provided larger venues to allow for social distancing.

The 436th Medical Group even implemented COVID-19 response scenarios into Ready EAGLE, including a public health training session that addresses outbreak investigation procedures.

Ready EAGLE was a collaborative effort that required help from volunteers throughout the base.

“With an event of this magnitude, there are a lot of moving parts,” said Brown. “Some of the challenges include securing the locations for the breakout sessions and finding volunteers. We’ve reached out across the wing to help with these challenges.”

After considerable planning, collaboration and adjustments to COVID-19, Dover AFB and other participating bases have found a way to continue preparing for its medical readiness.

“Ready EAGLE is the best way … to take our Air Force medics to a new level,” said Schelling.