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Airmen train with civil authorities to prepare for natural disasters
A C-130H assigned to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, is configured for an Aeromedical Evacuation exercise Ultimate Caduceus at Cheyenne Air National Guard Base, Wyo. By interacting and working closely with our federal, state and joint partners, Airmen in Utlimate Caduceus 14 are able to develop refinements to processes and procedures that can potentially enhance the effectiveness of real-world relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
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Airmen train with civil authorities to prepare for natural disasters

Posted 4/7/2014   Updated 4/8/2014 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
375th Air Mobility Wing, Public Affairs

4/7/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Natural disasters can and often strike with little notice, making a recent multi-state disaster response exercise involving military, civilian and interagency personnel especially valuable.

Eleven aircraft and more than 500 Airmen from nearly a dozen Air National Guard and active duty units participated in the U.S. Transportation Command response exercise, dubbed Turbo Challenge, from March 27- April 3.

Turbo Challenge 2014 was designed to prepare America's mobility forces to support relief operations within the U.S., was part of a series of linked exercises conducted alongside state and federal agencies that simulated interagency response to a major earthquake in Alaska.

"TC 14 tested the capability of the Mobility Air Forces to airlift responders and supplies into a disaster zone and aeromedically evacuate the wounded," said Master Sgt. Matthew Wiese, AMC, Aeromedical Ground Training Operations manager, who oversaw the AE portion of the exercise. "Based on previous natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina, we know all too well the importance of being prepared."

Of the hundreds of mobility Airmen who participated in TC 14, two dozen participated in a related exercise called Ultimate Caduceus , which focused on the processing and transfer of patients from the disaster site to medical care. UC 14 participants included members of the 183rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Cheyenne Air National Guard Base, Wyo., 375th AES, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and the 43rd AES at Pope Army Airfield, N.C.

For two days, two AE teams of 12 loaded C-130 aircraft with up to 35 simulated patients, mannequins, for transfer to Denver, Puget Sound, Wash., Salt Lake City, Utah, Boise, Idaho, and Portland, Ore. Enroute, AE members simulated treatment of the patients.

Upon arrival at their destinations, AE crews oversaw the movement of mannequins to a care area where live patients took over and were treated.

"I liked the exercise because it gave me an opportunity to learn from others in our career field," said Airman 1st Class Jocelyn Shirley, 183rd AES. "While on the aircraft on the way to our destination, I was taught how to floor load patients, identify and treat neurological trauma, and many other tasks."

Capt. Erwin SanPedro, 375th AES training instructor, added, "This training is vital because there are not many military hospitals anymore. So if an incident on American soil were to occur, we [AE members] would have to work closely with civilian disaster relief on the ground."

The AE units also trained U.S. Army and civilian exercise partners during the exercise.

Capt. Melissa Stevens, 183rd AES flight nurse said, "We don't participate in exercises with Air Force Guard AE units, let alone civilian authorities very often. This exercise gave us the opportunity to train each other and provide training to the people on the ground on how to provide the best patient care possible."

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