FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Team Fairchild provided KC-135 Stratotanker support during aeromedical evacuation training for the 43rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Feb. 10-11.
Training consisted of familiarization of the KC-135 airframe for emergency evacuation procedures, simulated in-flight medical emergencies, aircraft emergency simulations and medical equipment for both Fairchild and Travis Airmen in order to qualify for semi-annual requirements.
“As an air refueling wing, we don’t have a lot of aeromedical evacuation exposure, so this training provides us and our boom operators the opportunity to experience this type of mission first-hand,” said Master Sgt. Anne Engebretson, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron B-Flight chief and aeromedical evacuation coordinator. “It’s important for us to be able to support this mission and be prepared to respond with proficiency and success whenever called upon.”
The KC-135 provides the core aerial refueling capability for the Air Force and helps accomplish its primary mission of extending global reach. However, the Stratotanker is also capable of medical transport for litter and ambulatory patients using support pallets during an aeromedical evacuation situation.
During aeromedical evacuation missions, two flight nurses and three medical technicians are added to the KC-135 flight crew. This makes boom operators consider changes in weight, balance, equipment storage concerns and the needs of medics and patients to ensure effective communication between all personnel throughout the different phases of flight.
“We usually train and perform aeromedical evacuations on cargo aircraft, so working with the KC-135 is especially unique, since it is a refueling aircraft with a different platform than we are used to,” said Tech. Sgt. Willson Tsao, 43rd AES noncommissioned officer in charge of aeromedical training. “With this platform, we also have to use different equipment, including a stanchion litter system that we have to build and attach to the aircraft ourselves, unlike cargo aircraft.”
The 43rd AES is currently transitioning from its present station at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, to become part of the 60th AES at Travis Air Force Base, providing more training opportunities on the KC-10 Extender, C-5 Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III based there, as well as KC-135s based out of Fairchild.
“We [aeromedical evacuation Airmen] are universally trained to perform on a variety of airframes, so it is important for us to be proficient and knowledgeable with each airframe we operate on,” Tsao said. “We don’t have a lot of access to the KC-135 here at Travis, so having a tanker from Fairchild down here is crucial in allowing us to meet our qualification training requirements for this aircraft.”
This is Fairchild’s second Travis aeromedical evacuation training support mission and with the new addition of the 60th AES team, Team Fairchild is looking forward to more training missions in the future.
“It’s important for us to be ready to provide support for aeromedical evacuations, even though our primary mission is air refueling,” Engebretson said. “The goal in the future is to have Airmen from all four air refueling squadrons here at Fairchild experience the aeromedical evacuation mission, ensuring they are able to respond and perform at a moment’s notice.”
Team Fairchild is able to strengthen their partnership with the 43rd AES by supporting their aeromedical evacuation training alongside mobility teammates at Travis Air Force Base, helping to build a modern mobility force that will ensure the delivery of strength and hope now and in the future.