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332d Expeditionary Medical Squadron Creates Multicapable Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel O'Brien
  • 332d Air Expeditionary Wing

The 332d Expeditionary Medical Squadron is working hard creating multi-capable Airmen, a concept that aims to generate additional capability while reducing the number of Airmen who must be put in harm’s way. While the 332d EMDS has multiple sections with devoted, specialized missions, Airmen are now cross-training into other specialties, creating a more agile team.

Staff Sgt. Kelsey Aldridge, an independent duty medical technician with the 332d EMDS, recently underwent training to learn how to perform water quality sampling, a task usually accomplished by a different team called Bioenvironmental Engineering.

IDMTs routinely operate between departments, doing everything from seeing patients to performing health inspections, so learning how to test water quality and maintain medical equipment was not an issue for Aldridge.

“With me being the only IDMT in the squadron, it’s important for me to be able to fulfill a lot of ACE [Agile Combat Employment] missions,” says Aldridge. "It means that I can either go out alone or just along with a flight surgeon.”

ACE is a proactive and reactive operating concept for how the U.S. Air Force fights in today’s changing threat environment. It shifts generation of airpower from large, centralized bases, to networks of smaller, dispersed locations, or cluster bases to increase survivability, complicate adversary planning and gain an advantage.

332d EMDS Airmen are often called on to visit forward operating locations to assist with health and wellness support, whereas the 332d bioenvironmental flight is responsible for assuring water quality meets acceptable standards.

For Tech. Sgt. Rodric Peterson, flight chief of preventive aerospace medicine for the 332d EMDS, the cooperation is a benefit of serving in a deployed environment.

“In a deployed environment we’re kind of one team, one fight,” says Peterson. “If only one of us can go to a site assessment, we need to know a little bit about everyone’s jobs so we can sustain and operate from any location.”

Tech. Sgt. Peterson also noted that being able to send fewer members out as opposed to a full team means more people available to see patients while still maintaining full capability out in the field.

“Back at home station we’re doing our own things, we’re in our daily grind but coming out here and looking at the mission on a bigger scale, you really get to understand how it ties into keeping your population safe.”