WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
During their July annual tour, approximately 30 members of the 445th Aerospace Medicine Squadron and 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron had opportunity to practice field medical skills, while also collaborating with the next generation of military medical professionals at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado.
“Field medicine is very different from doing an IV in a clinic or emergency room,” said Col. Joseph Lawlor, chief of aerospace medicine, 445th Aerospace Medicine Squadron.
More than 1,100 first-year cadets at USAFA honed their combat skills, slept in tents, and completed seven strenuous courses focused on confidence, teamwork and leadership. It was all part of a 10-day field training exercise on a remote section of the campus, called Jack’s Valley Training Complex.
“During other annual tours, you might just do scenario-based or block training, but here at Basic Cadet Training, there are real people who truly need help, and they’re looking to us to help them,” said Senior Airman Erica Wyeth, 445th Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical technician.
The two squadrons from the 445th were part of a larger team of Airmen working in partnership with USAFA’s emergency medical response cadets, who provide frontline care for a variety of Academy events. The EMR cadets, most of whom are juniors and seniors, are trained to provide basic wound care, monitor vital signs, administer epinephrine and oxygen, and stabilize bone injuries.
Throughout BCT at Jack’s Valley, freshmen cadets endured bone and joint injuries, dehydration, blisters, concussions and breathing difficulties. When their medical needs exceeded the EMR team’s training, Air Force Reservists stood by at each challenge course to provide acute medical care, transporting injured clients to the multi-tent field medical facilities when necessary.
“We determine, here in the field, which patients will go to the field clinic, which ones are returning to the training event, and which injuries warrant a 911 call,” said Senior Airman Alissa Toca, aerospace medical technician, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.
Inside the field clinic, the 445th coordinated with reserve and active-duty Airmen from across the nation to provide medical care to an average of 60 patients per day, supporting the Air Force mission while seizing real-world training opportunities.
“The clinic we are running out here mimics the environment we deploy to, so the experience is very beneficial, especially for Reserve medical technicians who may not practice medicine in the civilian world,” Lawlor said.