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Exercise tests reservists’ mass casualty response

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron shield a patient strapped to a litter as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter kicks up dust while landing at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil training area during a joint  exercise in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 14, 2017.

Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron shield a patient strapped to a litter as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter kicks up dust while landing at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil training area during a joint exercise in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 14, 2017. Approximately 200 Reserve Citizen Airmen and U.S. Army soldiers conducted the exercise to test their readiness and emergency response abilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Justin R. Norton)

Senior Airman Mehader Teferi, a 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician, provides simulated emergency medical care to Tech. Sgt. William Marks, the 302nd ASTS NCO in charge of biomedical equipment repair who has simulated injuries, as part of an exercise at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil training area in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 14, 2017.

Senior Airman Mehader Teferi, a 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician, provides simulated emergency medical care to Tech. Sgt. William Marks, the 302nd ASTS noncommissioned officer in charge of biomedical equipment repair who has simulated injuries, as part of an exercise at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil training area in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 14, 2017. Approximately 200 Reserve Citizen Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers conducted the exercise to test their readiness and emergency response abilities in a deployed location. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta)

Staff Sgt. Barbara Yale and Airman 1st Class is Genevieve Patton, both 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technicians, prepare to lift an Airman strapped to a litter during a joint aeromedical  exercise at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil training area in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 14, 2017.

Staff Sgt. Barbara Yale and Airman 1st Class is Genevieve Patton, both 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technicians, prepare to lift an Airman strapped to a litter during a joint aeromedical exercise at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil training area in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 14, 2017. Approximately 200 Reserve Citizen Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers conducted the exercise to test their readiness and emergency response in a deployed location. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Justin R. Norton)

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Smoke billowed out of the doorway of the building in an austere location. The screams and shouts from the wounded filled the air. Airmen rushed to the scene with litters in tow, scouring the building for wounded. They strapped the injured to a litter one by one, then transported them to safety before returning to the smoke-filled building in search for others.

For approximately 200 Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 302nd Airlift Wing, this was the scene at Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil in Colorado during a mass casualty and joint aeromedical evacuation exercise Oct. 14.

According to Lt. Col. Alan Flolo, 302nd AW director of inspections, the Air Force Reserve Command implemented exercise was conducted to evaluate the wing’s medical emergency response skills in a deployed environment.

The exercise, which involved the wing’s tactical airlift operation, maintenance aircraft generation, aeromedical evacuation operation and critical care, simulated an attack on Airmen in a simulated deployed location to test emergency medical response as well as the triage and transportation including the airlift of wounded personnel.

Once stabilized, the wounded were transported to a 302nd AW C-130 Hercules aircraft for aeromedical evacuation. The C-130 performed an assault landing on a nearby dirt strip as part of operational training when it arrived. An Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team assigned to the wing’s 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron was on board the C-130, ready to receive the simulated wounded while the aircraft engines remained running to allow an immediate departure.

The 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron Reserve Citizen Airmen, in teams of four, transferred the most critically wounded to the rear of the C-130 to await transfer. The rest of the wounded were transported to an Army medical evacuation vehicle via litter-carry.

“The Airmen were exposed to the different loading scenarios and the various ways that the Army handles medical evacuation procedures, said Tech. Sgt. Katharina D’Amato, NCO in charge of the En Route Patient Staging System assigned to the 302nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron.

The Colorado Army National Guard supported the exercise with two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters allowing 302nd AW Airmen to get first-hand experience on aeromedical evacuation procedures for critically wounded.

“It’s important to get hands-on training,” said Staff Sgt. Barbara Yale, a medical technician with the 302nd ASTS. “Many Airmen have never experienced a joint training environment and this has been a valuable experience.”

“This could very easily be a real-world scenario,” said Capt. Leslie Shook, a 302nd ASTS critical care nurse and coordinator of the Unit Training Assembly exercise at Fort Carson. Shook helped coordinate the joint participation at Fort Carson and with the Colorado Army National Guard helicopters supporting the exercise.

In his post exercise evaluation, Flolo said, “The joint operation provided a great experience for the wing and, there is opportunity to do more as Fort Carson’s training area is a larger capacity resource in a local area. And, from a supporting role, there was a benefit. Locally on Peterson we exercised our CAT (Crisis Action Team) convening and contacted and tested UCCs (Unit Control Centers) ability to stand up. I think the exercise helped develop the mindset for the wing to come together in a deployed, combat situation and also uncovered areas of improvement. The whole idea is to exercise our skills and find deficiencies on processes that can be improved to make us better.”

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