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455th EAES Airmen advise, assist Afghan counterparts

  • Published
  • By Col Diane DiFrancesco
  • 455th EAES
Two 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Airmen recently spent a week in Kabul advising and assisting their Afghan counterparts as they develop their own organic AE capabilities.

Maj. Patrick Kennedy, flight nurse, and Master Sgt. Wesley Pinner, aeromedical evacuation technician, observed current Afghan Ministry of Defense training and operational practices, specifically in-flight medical care and safety consideration.

“We really didn’t know what we were about to get into or experience, but we were willing to offer any assistance we could to help the Afghan Medevac guys better their programs and patient care capabilities,” said Pinner.

AE has proven to be a critical link in the battlefield by increasing survival rates of injured military members. When a patient’s condition requires evacuation, AE teams must move the patient as quickly and as safely as possible in an effort to transfer the patient to a higher level of care. Having fully trained AE assets to include individuals, airplanes and equipment closer to the front lines makes these assets more responsive to the patient’s needs.

The Airmen participated and shared knowledge with the Afghans on fine tuning their existing operational and medical procedures, and made recommendations to incorporate U.S. aeromedical evacuation lessons learned. Because the Afghan AE program is in its infancy, it will take time to grow.

“This is the third time that I have deployed to Afghanistan, and the first time that I’ve been able to work hand and hand with our Afghan counterparts,” said Kennedy. “It was an extremely rewarding opportunity.”

With the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces taking the lead in the defense of their nation, AE is an important capability the ANDSF is working to grow and improve. The U.S. military is assisting with ongoing AE process improvement projects, with the goal of matching the success and capability of U.S. AE teams. The focused goal of the international coalition is a sovereign and stable partner in Afghanistan with the ability to provide safety and security in their country, to include its own organic AE capability.