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News > How to save a life--10,000 feet in the air
How to save a life--10,000 feet in the air

Posted 9/22/2011   Updated 10/1/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Abigail Klein
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


9/22/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- With pulses pounding and time running out, the men and women of the Air Force's Expeditonary Aeromedical Evacuation flight not only save lives, they save them 10,000 feet above ground.

The "Bandage Flight" usually consists of a traditional flight crew, three flight nurses and four aeromedical evacuation technicians. In addition to active duty-Airmen, almost all flights consist of Guard and Reserve members who normally work as licensed nursed practioners and medical technicians.

Their mission is to continue to provide a heightened level of medical care to wounded warriors downrange, allowing them to receive the best care possible, said Capt. Rob Huhn, 10 EAEF nurse stationed out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

"Knowing that we're here to provide that care is a benefit to the wounded warrior; it's best we can offer [them]," he said.

Air Mobility Command aeromedical evacuation missions are coordinated numerous times a week to fly all over the area of responsibility around the clock, including Iraq or Afghanistan, airlifting to get the patients to their next level of care. This coordination begins on the ground by the 455th EAEF technicians.

"Before these missions take flight, it's our job to make sure that the ambulance and proper documentation is in order to make sure these guys get home," said Staff Sgt. NaKia Harvey. "Without us, this mission can't happen."

The next level includes medical treatment in Bagram before they fly to Ramstein, where they will be treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. From there, the crew airlifts other patients needing further care to the United States.

The 20-hour shifts and ability to configure patient support equipment in a short amount of time in a variety of aircraft, including C-130 and C-17 aircraft require a rigorous training process stateside. This requires a rigorous training process stateside.

"It's not hard to adapt to the aircraft because our training is so intense," said Tech. Sgt. Kim Price, 455th EAEF technician. "Our training stateside is one year, and we're required to mix aircraft all the time."

This is Sergeant Price's second tour at Bagram. She, like most other members of EAEF, welcome the opportunity to help the wounded.

"This is more fulfilling than anything I will do at home," said Lt. Col. Anthony Trezza, 455 EAEF commander. "Moving our nation's heroes, I can't think of anything better that."

Though the missions are routine, the ability to treat these patients, including Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, reemphasizes the importance of the "Total Force" concept for all military Airmen.



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