By Senior Airman Stephanie Serrano
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A hallmark of the U.S. military is providing humanitarian support during natural disasters and emergencies in the United States and around the world.
In order to continue providing elite care during crises, members from the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, forward deployed to Little Rock Air Force Base to establish an aeromedical staging location on Nov. 6 to exercise their preparedness as part of a simulated evacuation of more than 650 people as part of Little Rock AFB Inspection 17-1.
“AE is a mission set that we are always on call for. In theater and during combat, most AE missions are single, stand-alone missions,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Angela Ochoa, 61st Airlift Squadron commander. “While at home, we must be ready to provide a larger response for natural events that could force us to respond in mass. Coordinating this type of response with all the agencies involved and exercising the entire Black Knight team with live AE teams is critical to our success if and when we are called upon to provide this rapid global mobility capability that actually saves lives.”
When the order of evacuation came, aircrews from the 19th Airlift Wing sprang into immediate action. Airmen from the 41st Airlift Squadron and 61st AS worked closely with the 375th AES to ensure timely and accurate plan of action was performed. The combined assets evacuated non-critical patients and demonstrated lifesaving care during simulated life threatening conditions.
With the recent transition from the C-130H model to the C-130J, the exercise tested and identified the differences between the C-130 variants and ensuring the flawless execution of aeromedical evacuation missions. The modifications to the current plan identified during the exercise will help potential future missions continue to be as successful as when the C-130H was used to perform these tasks.
“Now that our transition is complete and we were able to exercise to the full level of effort while still supporting missions downrange, we were able to identify our strengths and weaknesses so we can tailor our training in the future,” Ochoa said. “We were able to exercise the entire Black Knight team and ensure everyone was able to exercise their part of this vital mission so that when we are called upon to execute we can. Most importantly, the team took pride in our ability to respond as required and now have the confidence to perform this vital mission anywhere, anytime.”