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Comm partners with aeromedical teams to save lives

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Melissa Estevez
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- When it comes to saving lives on the battlefield, a team of medical evacuation technicians and flight nurses are critical for patient transport, but it may be surprising to know that so is having a communications expert.

This was demonstrated recently when members of the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron trained in setting up a deployment style care facility known as an En-route Patient Staging System, referred to as an ERPSS facility.

This is where you can find 375th Communications Squadron experts such as Tech. Sgt. Sean Newell, who is a Radio Frequency Transmission Systems technician.

“My role is to provide the communications for when we go out to exercises, hurricane evacuation, natural disasters and any real world contingencies,” said Newell. “We provide a communication terminal which allows us to access a website that allows for patient planning.”

His job is to monitor for incoming flights and notify the AE teams so they can begin to prepare. He also ensures there is radio communication capability for the team when mission essential communication systems are unavailable.   

Newell explained that having communications personnel on hand ensures that the teams can learn necessary information such as aircraft arrival times, patient statuses, and other vital mission data. Ensuring communication flows smoothly throughout the process is important to the care and well-being of patients as well as the effective and efficient operations of the AE teams.

Once the communication begins to flow, the RF transmission systems technician relays the amount of patients that will be needing care to the ERPSS team. 

The ERPSS facility is staged on or near the flight line and contains enough medical supplies to provide basic care once patients arrive from the field. These tent-like structures have a generator that allows personnel to operate in any environment.

Being ready to operate in any situation is a vital part of the 375th AES mission. During the recent mobility exercise, AE Airmen were re-familiarized with Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear and associated levels of protection while loading, unloading and transporting patients. Teams reviewed proper radio etiquette, aircraft configuration, effective equipment set-up, and how to redeploy resources including equipment and manpower. 

Staff Sgt. Kendra Fulton, an AE technician, explained that the exercise allowed teams to “get hands on, muscle memory” when it comes to all types of field conditions.

With this training, the 375th AES and CS ensure that they meet and exceed Air Mobility Command and U.S. Air Force readiness requirements for mission readiness.  For instance, Newell and Fulton are part of AMC AE teams who in January alone flew 59 air evacuation missions in support of overseas contingency operations and 78 missions stateside that transported 359 patients.

Fulton added that AE Airmen ensure service members and civilians are taken care of and that vital Air Mobility Command and Air Force missions achieve success.