They are actually part of the annual training required for Pope’s 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
“We are considered first responders among the four active-duty air evac squadrons,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Morton, an air evacuation medical technician with the 43rd AES. “We are more high speed than other squadrons, and this field stuff is our bread and butter.”
If the Air Force wants air evac squadrons to test a new tent or a new piece of equipment or process, the 43rd AES is called upon to test it, Sergeant Morton said.
“We are the pilot unit for any changes the Air Force wants to make to air evacuations,” he said.
Sergeant Morton said they are expected to know how to conduct medical evacuations in a hostile environment and train often with the Army.
“What’s great about working with the Army, and other services, is that we understand what other services need,” Sergeant Morton said. “It also builds our credibility when they see us out (hiking) it in and training hard with them.”
About 28 students and nine instructors recently spent three days out at Camp Mackall at Fort Bragg, N.C., learning how to set up a mobile air staging facility and evacuate patients in an engine-running onload scenario.
The mobile air staging facility and engine-running onloads are usually scenarios that take place at the beginning of operations, said Master Sgt. Richard Barlow, an air evacuation medical technician.
“Ideally we have to set up MASFs at the onset of military operations, and then we teach the other services how to set them up and run them,” Sergeant Barlow said. “Our goal is really to teach ourselves out of jobs with these MASFs.”
Other training the students received included tent set-up, night operations, generator training, site selection and civilian agency interaction training.
“After Katrina, we realized how important it is to know how to interact with civilian agencies,” Sergeant Barlow said.
Tech. Sgt. Richard Kramer, also with the 43rd AES, said they aren’t out at Camp Mackall training and practicing medical procedures.
“We are teaching them how to survive and treat patients in a hostile environment,” he said. “But probably the most important aspects of this training is learning teamwork and how to live and work together, but realizing everything revolves around taking care of the patients.”