ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait --
The diagnosis of an ailment doesn’t change across borders, so it is helpful when the best medical practices and knowledge are shared internationally. The 405th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron opened its doors for the Italian Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation counterparts on March 23, 2022, showcasing its capabilities, processes and set up of the C-130 Hercules aircraft for medical evacuations.
“We set this up to understand how our coalition partners train and operate, as well as for them to be able to see how we do things,” said Capt. Tara Wilkinson, an aeromedical evacuation liaison team flight nurse with the 405th EAES. “If there was ever a time where we did have to fly with one another, at least we would have some type of baseline, or knowledge of how they operate.”
Italian Air Force Lt. Francesco Crisa shared his dream of meeting people from other sides of the world doing the same thing that he does and learning from them.
“There are no huge differences,” said Crisa. “But I think there are several interpretations of the same basis. I learned how much logistics can help improve our job, and the way you can consider the crew roles to improve capabilities.”
One difference was the large negative pressurized unit inside the C-130 Hercules or C-17 Globemaster III aircraft that the 405th EAES uses to transport COVID positive patients on, while the Italian Air Force uses smaller units sized for one patient only. If needed, the Italian coalition forces could transport multiple people in smaller units, and configured their aircraft to support that.
“The unit they made created a smaller footprint on the aircraft,” said Wilkinson. “One person could roll it, and you don't need multiple people carrying it which makes it a lot simpler. If there's ever a time where we had to go on a cargo mission where there's not a lot of space, that would be so handy for us to be able to use something like that.”
Not only did the event provide insight to each group’s aeromedical evacuation operations, but it also solidified relationships.
“It's great to see how other people think and operate…[as] you get to see what you might not have thought about yourself,” said Wilkinson. “That's what you need to do to be able to get the mission done.”