514th Aeromedical stays current

  • Published
  • By By Master Sgt. Mark Olsen
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

A lot can be done in two days.

For the nine Aeromedical Evacuation Crew Airmen with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing, those two days of training can mean the difference between life and death.
“Twice a year, we have these reoccurring different training scenarios that we have to accomplish,” said Master Sgt. Garrett T. Hilliker, aeromedical evacuation flight instructor, 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. “We covered a number of them today; we’ll fly again tomorrow and get everyone done; and in six months, we’ll do it all over again.”

On July 29 and 30, 2017, the Reserve Citizen Airmen flew on a 305th Air Mobility Wing C-17 Globemaster III, flown by an aircrew from the 732nd Airlift Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing, from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., to Nashville, Tenn. During the flight, they had to respond to a number of simulated medical and aircraft emergency scenarios.

The mission also gave the Aeromedical Evacuation Crew members the experience of working with the C-17 aircrew, as well as real world events including in-flight turbulence and altitude changes, all of which they might have to face during an actual medical evacuation flight.

“They have to have a minimum of one simulated medical and one simulated aircraft emergency per flight,” said Capt. Allison L. Riley, flight nurse, 514th AES.

“But if you have time, its good training to do more,” said Hilliker.
During the simulated emergencies, the Aeromedical Evacuation Crew must respond as if the simulation was a real event.

On this particular flight, they had two simulated in-flight aircraft emergencies: An aircraft fire, which required working with self-contained breathing apparatus and an emergency landing. And because this was also a proficiency flight for the aircrew, they also had a prolonged, low-altitude flying experience.

The medical training the team received included contending with simulated cardiac and respiratory emergencies, burn trauma, chest trauma, and working with an agitated psychiatric outpatient.
During the flight, the nurses and medical technicians had to demonstrate their proficiency in using cardiac monitors, suction units, vital signs monitors, setting up oxygen lines, IV pumps, even frequency converters, which convert the aircraft’s voltage to that used by their medical equipment. In the real world, that equipment will enable them to respond to any issues they may encounter during a medical evacuation flight.

“The focus of these missions is for us to train for the worst thing that we could ever encounter on a plane so we are prepared in case something really horrible does happen,” said Capt. Hazel Seda, flight nurse, 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Not all of the Reserve Citizen Airmen are in the medical career field, they also include a policeman and a social worker. It is with these diverse backgrounds, these traditional reservists bring a depth of real world experience to their duties, all of it critical to the Air Force’s aeromedical evacuation mission.

That mission includes working with several different types of aircraft, which requires the team to configure the aircraft’s cargo space to accommodate multiple litters and numerous pieces of emergency medical equipment.

While the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Crew work primarily with the C-17 Globemaster III, they are also trained to perform missions using the C-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker to move patients out of combat zones to hospitals where they can receive critical follow-on care.

Regardless of what aircraft is being flown, that critical training ensures that the Aeromedical Evacuation Crew will be able to provide high quality medical care and treatment while evacuating sick or wounded personnel regardless the circumstances.

For the Airmen that got certified on the first day, this means that if they are needed, anywhere, anytime, they are ready.

And by the way, this was just the first day of the mission. The return trip will prove equally intense for the Aeromedical Evacuation Crew.