Dedication to medical evacuation mission

By Maj. Brooke Cortez, 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs on September 8, 2016

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - The 446th "Rainier" Wing's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron undergoes constant training to be able to respond during any type of situation.

On a recent C-17 Globemaster III flight, Lt. Col. Lori O'Daniel, 446th AES deputy officer-in-charge of commander support services and instructor flight nurse, was able to train on currency requirements, including a simulated aircraft emergency and inflight medical emergencies.

Col. Sean Pierce, 446th Operations Group commander, served as a simulated patient during one of the training sessions during the flight.

"Colonel Pierce was a simulated patient who developed a cardiac event with respiratory and cardiac arrest," explained O'Daniel. "This allowed us to go through our Advanced Cardiac Life Support protocols, which are exactly the treatment protocols he would have received in an Emergency Department."

Pierce served 15 years in the Army, assigned in various leadership assignments as an AH-1, UH-1, CH-47 and UH-60 pilot, instructor, evaluator, test pilot and test pilot evaluator. A command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours, he transitioned to flying strategic airlift in the C-17.

"For me, medical evacuation missions are the most real and tangible operations you can be a part of," said Pierce. "The military has been supporting sustained wartime operations for nearly two decades, and being part of medevac missions has shown me firsthand how tremendously skilled and dedicated members of the Aeromedical Evacuation community are to their mission."

Other training conducted during the flight for the AES members included practicing on patient loads and offloads, setting-up oxygen, electrical, stanchions and emergency equipment.

O'Daniel is a traditional reservist who works as a post-surgical care nurse in day surgery and as a hyperbaric dive nurse in hyperbaric medicine for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I was prior enlisted in the AES as a medical technician with the 446th," she said. "I loved caring for patients inflight and providing medical transport."

Using her GI bill to get her nursing degree, she progressed to become a flight nurse and continued her military medical career.

The 446th AW provides 2,100 combat-ready citizen airmen to support worldwide airlift operations. From humanitarian aid to aeromedical evacuation, members of the Rainier Wing operate the C-17 Globemaster III in some of the most austere places in the world, including the Antarctic.