Flight medic enables mobility mission

Senior Airman Tara Harvard, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical technician, poses for a photo in a patient ward at the 92nd Medical Group clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., June 28, 2016. Harvard completed flight medic school at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio in May. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sam Fogleman)

Senior Airman Tara Harvard, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical technician, poses for a photo in a patient ward at the 92nd Medical Group clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., June 28, 2016. Harvard completed flight medic school at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio in May. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sam Fogleman)

Senior Airman Tara Harvard, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical technician, takes a pause during flight medic training at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, in spring 2016. Harvard is one of the medical technicians who works directly with flying squadrons at Fairchild AFB. (Courtesy photo)

Senior Airman Tara Harvard, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical technician, takes a pause during flight medic training at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, in spring 2016. Harvard is one of the medical technicians who works directly with flying squadrons at Fairchild AFB. (Courtesy photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Those wearing flight suits might seem a little out of place at the 92nd Medical Group clinic here. However, when the story is discovered, the attire becomes another palpable symbol of Total Force Integration and One Team One Fight.

Senior Airman Tara Harvard, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight and operational medical technician, joined the Air Force in December 2012, and shortly thereafter became a medical technician. Within the last few months, she has taken her career at the 92nd AMDS to the next level by becoming a flight and operational medical technician, following training for such at a three-week course at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

“I was serving a two-year rotation in the Family Health section of the clinic,” Harvard said. “During that timeframe, I was given the opportunity to become a flight medic.”

Harvard is part of a given flying squadron’s medical element. Currently, she is unofficially assigned to the 36th Rescue Squadron. Others working in her flight in the same capacity are assigned to the 92nd and 93rd Air Refueling Squadrons. Naturally, due to the respective missions of the two ARS’ at Fairchild, those flight medics get the opportunity to deploy much more frequently than Harvard. For example, she would deploy with the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Airmen, if they were to do so. That is an infrequent occurrence. Still, the tempo at home station keeps her busy, all the same.

“We work with all the people on flying status, as well as their families,” Harvard said. “Seeing families is new to this part of the clinic, and it really helps because it maintains continuity. We get the full picture of our patients and their lives.”

Harvard is working toward her goal of being admitted to an enlisted commissioning program in nursing. She says she would like to be a flight nurse.

“The Flight and Operational Medical technician has an important role in the health of our flyers and SERE colleagues,” said Maj. Julie Anderson, 92nd AMDS Flight and Operational Medicine Clinic flight commander. “All active duty members who are on fly/jump status, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal and SERE clinic instructors, are seen in the Flight Medicine Clinic. The medical technician is the first member of the clinical team to lay hands on patients when they come in. In addition, med techs are part of the team that responds to inflight emergencies on the flight line. They are also members of the Field Response disaster team, who are the first responders for any mass casualty incident on base. Finally, they assist the doctors and providers in any procedures done in the clinic.”

Regarding her schooling at Wright-Patterson, Harvard said there was a good deal of mimicking flight training, just as pilots and their crews would undergo. In time, Harvard plans on taking part in the SERE SV-80 course run in the local area by the 336th Training Group cadre. She also is slated to take part in SERE’s water survival training course.

“It’s all about empathizing with the experience of our patients,” Harvard said. “It’s good as a technician to be able to see what happens during your assigned unit’s operations.”