Aeromedical Airmen support national-level exercise

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Candice Allen
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
On May 5 and 6, 12 Airmen of the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Wash., made their participation in a national level exercise seem like a walk in the park. 

The exercise, Ultimate Caduceus, was one of nine simultaneous exercises taking place across the nation. The exercise tests how civilians respond to a mass casualty incident. This exercise was part of the National Level Exercise 02-08. 

Over the two days, Reservists of the 446th AES placed and offloaded 152 patients from a C-130, flown by the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard. Flights took place between McChord AFB and Portland International Airport. The aeromedical Reservists also assisted the Army in an engine running offload of 16 patients from two UH-60 Black Hawks. 

"We had an experienced, qualified crew. They were fluid and flexible," said Lt. Col. Ken Winslow, deputy commander of the operations flight in the 446th AES. 

This fluidity allowed the crew to perform an impromptu training session with civilian responders on how to properly offload critical patients. 

"By the third day, there was a seamless integration between civilians (responders) and (our) Airmen," said Master Sgt. Marla Gilson, a 446th AES in-flight nurse. 

This seamless integration extended to Airmen from West Virginia and North Carolina Air National Guard, active-duty Airmen from Scott AFB, Ill., and the Army. 

"Whether we are Air Force, Army, or civilians, we are working together for the good of the patient," said Sergeant Gilson. 

The 446th AES participates in a minimum of two exercises per year, usually the Pacific Life Line in January and the Global Medic in June. 

"This was above and beyond what we normally do," said Sergeant Gilson. 

In addition to the large-scale exercises the 446th AES regularly participates in, they continue to support current operations. Over the next several months, the squadron is planning to deploy Airmen in support of Operations Enduring and Iraq Freedom, with the largest group leaving in August. 

"We do this because we love the mission and we love to do it," said Colonel Winslow. 

The 446th AES provided the bulk of the Air Force aeromedical evacuation support for the national-level exercise.