Stronger Together, Airmen & Guardsmen Practice Patient Evac

  • Published
  • By Julian Hernandez
  • 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron got an opportunity to showcase their skills and capabilities during a joint medical training event with more than two dozen members of the Texas State Guard on Feb. 24. 

The training allowed the Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion, 6th Brigade to observe and learn about Air Force aeromedical evacuation tactics, techniques and procedures, while Alamo Wing Airmen further honed their patient evacuation and care skills. 

Texas State Guard units like 1st BN, 6th BDE can be called to work alongside Air Force and Air Force Reserve units during disaster response and civil unrest situations. 1st Battalion is the 6th Brigade's medical unit, which means they carry out aerial point of embarkation and disembarkation (APOE/APOD) operations when patients are on the move via aircraft.  

Capt. Margarita Elestwani is the officer in charge of APOE/APOD for the Texas State Guard.  

“It is huge in any kind of training, if you are going to be working in a joint environment, to understand both the regulations that govern our sister services as well as the training background they have,” Elestwani said. 

“Working right alongside them in this kind of preparatory period allows us to be in sync with all of those we are going to be supporting,” Elestwani added. “We're here to understand fully what our role is so we can carry that out in the best possible manner for the best possible outcome for our patients.”  

For Alamo Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen, the opportunity to work alongside members of another service allows them to broaden their understanding of joint operations and build interoperability. 

“In certain settings, we can end up working with other services very closely,” said Staff Sgt. Rheannon Pionek, a 433rd AES technician. “Having the Texas State Guard here on a training mission helps us integrate our two sides of the world better.”  

Pionek noted, “These types of training help us know their limitations and they can know our limitations... that way we know how to work together in order to get our patients moved globally.”  

On top of briefing the Guardsmen about Air Force aeromedical evacuation capabilities and sharing best practices, 433rd AES members integrated the Guardsmen into parts of their patient upload training, allowing them to get some hands-on experience from the training event. 

Adding to the interoperability training value, the C-17 Globemaster serving as the platform for the training belongs to the Air Force Reserve Command’s 445th Airlift Wing, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The use of an aircraft from a different unit shows how Air Force Reserve units work together to make training and missions happen. 

 For Tech Sgt. Holly West, 433rd AES clinical management flight chief and one of the mission clinical coordinators for this event, it’s no surprise other units are seeking out training opportunities with the 433rd AES. 

“We train hard here... this unit has a reputation for giving more realistic, hands-on patient scenarios that simulate high patient acuity and high patient load,” West said. “They're preparing these guys for whatever's next.”  

For more photos of this training click the link below: