Bringing the Heat during Medical Cold Load Training

DJIBOUTI- U.S. Army combat medics from Task Force Paxton, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pennsylvania National Guard assembled on the tarmac to conduct joint medical evacuation cold-load training aboard a KC-130J aircraft at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 5, 2024. Medics participated in casualty evacuation operations by working with flight medical personnel and aircraft crew-members in the event that life saving measures and medical evacuation are requested. The purpose of the training is to ensure interoperability with key U.S. military assets to expedite patient transfers to and from an aircraft in the event life saving measures and medical evacuation are requested.



By Capt. Amanda Mayer Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Djibouti , Djibouti Apr 09, 2024
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U.S. Army combat medics from Task Force Paxton, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pennsylvania National Guard assembled on the tarmac to conduct joint medical evacuation cold-load training aboard a KC-130J aircraft at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, March 5, 2024. Medics participated in casualty evacuation operations by working with flight medical personnel and aircraft crew-members in the event that lifesaving measures and medical evacuation are requested. The purpose of the training is to ensure interoperability with key U.S. military assets to expedite patient transfers to and from an aircraft in the event lifesaving measures and medical evacuation are requested. “During the training, my team and I had the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the process of loading and unloading casualties on and off a field litter ambulance," said Sgt. Tiffany Cunningham, a combat medic with Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Pennsylvania National Guard. The Air Force Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight and the KC-130J loadmasters from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 facilitated the training with Task Force Paxton medics. “This was a new and exciting experience for me as I had the opportunity to interact with the flight medical crew and gain hands-on experience in the aircraft,” said Cunningham. Medics received guidance from flight and medical teams on safely entering and exiting the aircraft with a patient on a litter, following signals from the aircrew for approach and loading, using both four-man and two-man litter carries as space permits. “The Air Force Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight is the primary mover of joint forces across the globe from point of injury or medical facility to higher echelons of care and ultimately home,” said U.S. Air Force Cpt. Yanna Horsch, a flight nurse and operations officer with the 10th EAEF. The team is made up of flight nurses like Horsch and aeromedical evacuation technicians who are trained in aerospace medicine. “In our training, we go through essentially setting up a hospital inside an aircraft,” said Horsch. “This includes bringing all equipment to set up oxygen, electrical, amperage calculations and prep, littler stanchion setups to get litters on board, and other medical equipment to provide care to patients in flight.” EAEF members are required to possess universal qualifications as aircrew members. They undergo specialized training in aircraft emergencies, egress procedures, and aircraft configuration. Additionally, they receive training in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) techniques. Horsch and her team work very closely with the loadmasters for the assigned aircraft to orchestrate and accomplish multiple objectives. “We conduct aerial delivery and movement of injured personnel on litters,” said Sgt. James Townsend, an augmented crew station loadmaster with KC-130J detachment, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, or VMM 261. “My job also consists of conducting a preflight of the aircraft to ensure it’s in the correct condition and configuration for flight-we configure the interior of the aircraft for all loading evolutions for palletized cargo, rolling stock and passengers and their bags,” added Townsend. This training facilitates collaboration between medics, flight medical personnel, and aircrew, enabling them to engage in practice drills and enhance their skills. The goal is to establish a cohesive and reliable medical evacuation response. “Being able to look someone in the eyes and tell them ‘were going to take care of you and we're going to get you home,' it's the best feeling in the world,” said Horsch.
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