Army Reserve medical exercise sees increase in Air Force play

  • Published
  • By Capt. Hien Vu
  • Golden Medic Public Affairs
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The 706th Provisional Wing stood up here June 10 at the Augusta Regional Airport in preparation for "Golden Medic 2007" June 12-19. 

The Army Reserve's largest annual exercise began its 13th year of operation June 12. Known as Golden Medic, the exercise integrates several armed services' medical components in response to wartime medical evacuation contingencies. Golden Medic will run June 12-19. 

This year's exercise brings together more than 500 Airmen, a 33 percent increase compared to last year's Air Force participation. About 50 Reservists from the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at McChord AFB, Wash., are participating, to include the commander. 

"Golden Medic seamlessly integrates the air and ground components in transporting patients expeditiously and efficiently to appropriate medical facilities for treatment," said Col. Janet Moore-Harbert, 706th Provisional Wing commander for the exercise. "Our motto is, 'Planes will fly; patients will move.'" Colonel Moore-Harbert is the commander of the 446th AES at McChord. 

Dubbed the "greatest peacetime collection of joint medical-service personnel," Golden Medic has continually grown year after year, said Col. Mike Dankosky, exercise director and Air Force Reserve Command's chief of aeromedical evacuation at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. 

When it first began, the Air Force was primarily involved in airlift but that has evolved into much more over the years, according to Colonel Dankosky. 

"We started with 25 Air Force members," he said. "Now, we've grown to over 500 participants and continue to grow more each and every year. 

"The immediate and direct recipient of all of this training will be the wounded warriors," the colonel said. "It isn't limited to those who are actual battle casualties, but also to those who comprise non-battle patients who move through the expeditionary medical systems and to the global joint patient movement process." 

More than 3,000 Soldiers will participate in this year's exercise at five locations. In addition to the Augusta Regional Airport, the exercise will take place at nearby Fort Gordon; Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga.; Pope AFB, N.C.; and Camp Parks, Calif. 

"This is a premier joint medical training platform between the Army and Air Force," Colonel Dankosky said. "It will soon be expanded to encompass all the U.S. armed services and coalition forces." 

Representatives from the U.S. Navy as well as foreign armed forces are this year's observers. 

The 706th Provisional Wing, which combines active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard people, will simulate the entire aeromedical evacuation process, according to Colonel Dankosky. 

"To move a single patient, several components will have to be in place," he said.  

The two major components of this exercise are the expeditionary medical support and contingency aeromedical staging facility. 

The expeditionary medical support element is set up on Fort Gordon to receive patients from the Army's combat support hospital. 

"Our role is to stabilize the wounded patients transported from the field," said Lt. Col. Edith Rivera-Morillo, EMEDS mission commander. "We have medics, public health and biomedical personnel, doctors and nurses on hand to take care of our patients. Some of the facilities, housed in small-shelter tents, include a dental unit, intensive care unit, ward, operating room, emergency room, lab, and pharmacy." 

Once stabilized and validated for transportation, medics will move patients to the contingency aeromedical staging facility at Augusta Regional Airport, so they can be airlifted to a regional medical center. 

"CASF organizes and coordinates aeromedical evacuation, as well as prepares patients for flights," said Lt. Col. Christine Hassen, aeromedical evacuation mission commander. "The moment a patient is validated to endure the trip, we immediately move that patient to an appropriate medical facility for further treatment." (Air Force Reserve Command News Service - Captain Vu is with the 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office, Edwards AFB, Calif. )