3-May-2021 Source: US National Guard
Airmen from the 152nd Medical Group participated in joint aeromedical training featuring UH-60 Blackhawk aircraft with the Nevada Army National Guard in Reno-Stead, Nev., April 10, 2021.
“Today we did joint hot and cold load training,” said Sgt. Mason Burkhart, a critical care flight paramedic from the medical evacuation unit in Reno-Stead. “We practice loading patients on the aircraft and off the aircraft under different conditions.”
The exercise went through three phases featuring different conditions. The first phase featured a static rotor, and was a “crawl phase” to get the airmen and soldiers accustomed to the exercise before entering a more realistic scenario. The next phase was with the aircraft on and the blades moving, eliminating the element of verbal communication and required participants to use hand signals to communicate throughout the exercise. The final phase consisted of a situation where the aircraft flies in traffic patterns and the participants on-load and off-load patients in a timely manner.
“This applies to real life in the case that we have to come pick up a patient, whether its domestic or in foreign operations, land the helicopter, and on-load or off-load patients with whoever our counterparts are.” said Burkhart.
Burkhart said that joint training is crucial and it is important to work together in order to be prepared for any situation that may occur.
“The value in training in a joint operation is that all personnel both Air and Army are well versed in casualty evacuation should they be activated in such a capacity,” said Master Sgt. Janalee Morris, with the 152nd Medical Group. “This training gives Soldiers and Airmen the opportunity to practice patient movement and to identify obstacles and implement best practices.”
“Especially for medivac, we never know who we’re going to be working with,” said Burkhart. “We can support any branch and any entity that needs our services. So it’s very important for us to train with our counterparts in different branches so that we have that base knowledge, understanding and communication in the case that they need us in a real world emergency.”
Overall, the exercise was a huge success and prepared the Nevada Army and Air National Guard to work in tandem when a real-world scenario requires it.
“It was great working with everyone today, I think we are mutually beneficial to each other,” said Burkhart. “We had a really good time and we just enjoy our job and other people enjoying our job.”
Morris also added, “All members who attended the training were ecstatic to have the opportunity to train with the 991st Aviation Battalion. Each member has personally stated that they can’t wait to do it again. One member told me that they actually felt like a “real medic” rather than just processing medical paperwork every drill weekend.”
The units plan to get together again April 29 through May 2, 2021 to continue building those relationships.