WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
More than 40 Airmen from the 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio and the 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona trained together Aug. 6, 2021 at the state of the art simulation facility located at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio.
The Dayton VA and 445th ASTS have a long-standing history of cooperation to meet training requirements and in June 2021, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was reached, once again, between the two organizations.
“We are thankful to the leadership at the squadron and the VA. There is a lot of legwork that goes into building an MOU. A lot of legality and paperwork goes into it,” said Capt. Benjamin Trick, 445th ASTS simulation lab supervisor.
“After a year and a half delay from COVID-19, we are so happy to have this resource available again for training.”
Trick, who is also in charge of ensuring the clinical nurses at ASTS meet their comprehensive medical readiness training plans, said the space and equipment at the VA allowed them to have eight training stations while still following current Department of Defense COVID-19 safety protocols.
The ASTS nurses who participated in the skills training had a positive experience.
“It was a great collaboration, I wish we could do it more often,” added 1st Lt. Charran Booker, clinical nurse, 445th ASTS. “Hopefully this is the start of many because the VA has all the equipment since they are a medical center and we got a lot of education out of it.”
The Airmen were able to train on IV insertion, dressing changes, mass casualty triage, suturing, nasal gastric tubes, foleys and many other medical procedures with life-like mannequins.
Booker also shared the benefits of training with another ASTS unit.
“It’s great to train with other units so when we go to deploy, we are used to working and serving together,” said Booker.
Trick added that the space and equipment are not the only benefits to training at the VA.
“A lot of our members have had active duty time and qualify for VA benefits but have never been in the facility,” he said. “It is good for our members to see that the VA is there for us afterwards for the continuity of lifelong care for service members,” said Trick.
Besides the hands-on skills training, Trick said the experience allows them to network and learn about vendor resources that offer training equipment that would be useful at their squadron.
Lastly, Trick noticed another benefit to the collaboration between the VA and ASTS.
“Walking through the hallways (of the VA) in uniform, a lot of veterans stop and talk to us,” he shared. “It means a lot to them to have that interaction and connection to their service.”