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Get to the choppa! ASAB medics train on a Black Hawk

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Monica Roybal
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Members assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group, the U.S. Army, the Canadian Armed Forces and the Polish Armed Forces participated in a medical evacuation training exercise at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, Oct. 27, 2020.

Medical providers, technicians, nurses and administrative personnel attended the training to learn proper safety techniques to quickly and efficiently load or unload a patient during a medical evacuation.

“As medical team members, we never know what role we may need to fulfill,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Latrise Searson-Norris, 386th EMDG chief of aerospace medicine. “In the event of a mass casualty event, for example, we would need all hands on deck, so this training is vital for all medical personnel no matter what their regular duty is.”

A U.S. Army combat paramedic team partnered with the 386th EMDG in the exercise because in a real-world scenario, they would be dispatched from Camp Buehring to transport a patient from ASAB to Camp Arifjan for extensive medical care.

The Army medical team operated a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and flew the ASAB members around to demonstrate what it would feel like for a patient during transportation.

Searson-Norris said it was important for the medical team members to understand in-flight care nuances and how a patient may experience medical air transportation.

“They were able to feel the vibration of the helicopter and the stability, or lack thereof,” Searson-Norris continued. “Those aspects can help them consider pain control for the patient and the potential stress factors of in-flight medical care.”

Although some of the training exercise participants may not use these skills in their everyday duties, having the knowledge to rely on can help remind them of how they support the 386th mission and the potential impact they may have on service members when they need it most.

“I think it can get hard for any of us to see the big picture when you’re focused on your little part, but when you can see what your little part does, you realize it’s a great part of the whole picture,” Searson-Norris explained. “I think exercises like this can reinvigorate everyone and provide incentive to keep giving your best in whatever role you may play.”