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651st EAES deactivation
Members of the 651st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron transfer a patient from an ambulance onto a C-130 Hercules at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 19, 2013. Once loaded, the patient was aeromedically evacuated to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darrell Harper)
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651st EAES scheduled for deactivation

Posted 12/3/2013   Updated 12/4/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Capt. Jason Smith
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


12/3/2013 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The 651st Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron is scheduled to deactivate during a ceremony Dec. 16, 2013, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Since activating at KAF in 2009, the 651st EAES has participated in the aeromedical evacuation of more than 5,300 patients.

A standard 651st EAES mission involves two nurses and three medical technicians transferring patients from KAF and other bases throughout the area of responsibility to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. However, Tech. Sgt. Marguerite Hellwich, 651st EAES aeromedical evacuation technician, said the mission varies dependent on the needs of the patients. In some cases where the patient has more critical needs, the mission will include a Critical Care Air Transport Team, comprised of a doctor, an additional nurse and a respiratory therapist.

"We typically transport patients on C-130s (Hercules)," said Hellwich. "However, we can fulfill our mission on C-17s (Globemaster III) or KC-135s (Stratotanker), when required to transport patients over longer distances, such as to Landstuhl (Regional Medical Center, Germany)."

Fourteen rotations, including more than 1,000 Airmen, have been a part of the 651st EAES over the past 4.5 years, according to Lt. Col. Keith Reed, 651st EAES commander.
"As an aeromedical evacuation squadron commander, I am in a unique position in that I hope for low productivity numbers," said Reed. "Low numbers for us typically means greater success for others. Instead, we seek success in positive patient outcomes and the safe and timely execution of our missions."

Reed said the 651st EAES has transported patients for just about any type of medical injury ranging from minor sports injuries to the most severe battle injuries.

"We're proud to be a link in the chain that has supported a 98 percent survival rate," said Reed. "However, we will never forget the two percent who made the ultimate sacrifice."

Following the deactivation, the squadron's two patient movement elements, located at KAF and Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, will continue to operate under the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, BAF. Aeromedical evacuation will continue for KAF, but missions will be the responsibility of transient crews.



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