446th Reserve aeromedical team trains at Global Medic

By Air Force News on June 1, 2011

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill -- He "deployed" to Fort Hunter-Liggett, Calif., to help "save lives" - in practice of course.

Staff Sgt. Martin Duran, an Air Force Reserve aeromedical evacuation technician with the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., was one of many Airmen supporting Global Medic 2011 and Warrior 91 11-01 at Fort Hunter-Liggett in May 2011.

According to an Air Force news report, Global Medic "is a joint field training exercise for theater aeromedical evacuation system and ground medical components designed to replicate all aspects of combat medical service support."

Deployed aeromedical evacuation, or AE teams, work to evacuate patients from combat theaters to hospitals close to their home of record where further care will be provided, if necessary, Air Mobility Command officials said. These often lengthy airlift transports are when the AE teams must be the most vigilant.

AMC aircraft transport patients with an AE crew on board, typically consisting of two flight nurses and three medical technicians like Sergeant Duran. The AE crew is responsible for caring for and monitoring each warfighter by helping alleviate pain, administering medications and providing nursing care during the transport. A Critical Care Air Transport Team, or CCATT, is added to the crew for all critical-care patients. The CCATT consists of an intensive care physician, critical care nurse and respiratory therapist.

Sergeant Duran is trained in more than AE as part of his career field; his official Air Force job description shows for the aerospace medical service career field. However, for his tasks in performing AE duties, he is trained to prepare patients and equipment for flight and to prepare aircraft for patient enplaning.

AE technicians like Sergeant Duran also enplane and deplane ambulatory and litter patients, inventories loads and unloads baggage, functions as an AE crewmember, and assists flight nurses with in-flight patient care and documentation. AE technicians also monitor safety and security of patients, crew and the aircraft during in-flight or ground operations, and they operate specialized aircraft life support equipment, medical devices and aircraft systems related to patient care.

Furthermore, AE technicians provide emergency care for patients in event of medical or aircraft emergency and perform, when tasked, as a member of a mobile aeromedical staging facility during field training and deployment for contingency operations, the job description states.

As part of requirements for his Air Force specialty, Sergeant Duran has to maintain mandatory job knowledge in many areas to include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, nursing theory, techniques and procedures and team nursing.

He also has to know patient needs, emergency medical treatment to include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, aseptic technique, medical ethics and legal aspects. AE technicians also have to know about prescribed drugs and their administration, operating and maintaining therapeutic equipment, military hygiene and sanitation, risk management, contingency operations and transportation of sick and wounded.

AMC officials said AE missions already in execution in theater can be re-tasked when necessary. "The process normally takes 20 minutes to identify the appropriate mission and averages six and a half hours from initial notification to wheels up for urgent cases and priority cases averaging nine hours," officials said. (Staff Sgt. Donald R. Allen contributed to this report.)