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460th Medical Group sharpens combat readiness skills

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski
  • 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
Learning how to continue the mission while under the stresses of combat is essential to being successful on the battlefield. Although the mission of the 460th Space Wing is largely tied to space operations, some units in the wing play a role on the frontlines.

The 460th Medical Group held annual combat leadership and combat medic training Oct. 1-4 at Fort Carson, Colorado.

"The training covered a whole host of real-world scenarios that Airmen could run into down range," said Senior Master Sgt. Colby Bowers, the 460th MDG superintendent. "This includes vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, IEDs, a downed pilot, encountering weapons caches and sniper fire, as well as ambushes.

“The scenarios were designed to instill stress and frustration so that the members could learn how to overcome distractors and keep the mission going in order to bring their people home."

This annual training prepares the group’s Airmen for frontline deployment. Air Force medical personnel are expected to and have deployed in support of Army and Marine units, so combat simulated training is vital to understanding the types of stressors and situations that will arise while in a hostile deployed location.

"In spite of what our day-to-day duties may look like, we are still an expeditionary force," said Lt. Col. Christopher Mathews, the 460th MDG chief of aerospace medicine. "We have Airmen in harm's way around the globe right now. The exercise brings that fact back to the forefront of the Airman's mind and puts into practice the skills that could make the difference between success or failure in a worst case scenario."

Eight Airmen from the group were involved in the training that included starting an intravenous, clearing an airway, wound management, patient care under fire, tactical field care and tactical combat casualty care.

In order to simulate the stressors of combat, the cadre exposed the Airmen to low-light environments with loud combat noise while they worked on patients in order to induce confusion and stress.

Close-quarters combat training, patrolling techniques, reacting to enemy contact and land navigation were also taught during the training.

"Our basic mission in the military is to go down range and take the fight to the enemy," Bowers said. "We have a host of wartime skills and training requirements that get rusty while stateside, and especially at small bases and medical facilities such as Buckley (Air Force Base)."

The training provided the Airmen a look into what and how they'll be expected to perform in a hostile deployed location.

"They learned a little bit more about themselves and what they are capable of doing in a stressful situation," Bowers said. "They also developed some more confidence in their medical training and built esprit de corps with their teammates."

Different units from Buckley AFB including the 140th Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, 460th Security Forces Squadron and 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron, came together to make this training exercise as realistic as possible.