MacDill Air Force Base, Fl --
A dozen Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron here mobilized 14 April to support COVID-19 efforts.
This is the second group of medics from the 927th Air Refueling Wing to be activated to join the frontlines on the fight against COVID-19. On April 5 with less than 24 hours’ notice, six medics boarded a C-130 headed for Joint Base McGuire-Lakehurst, N.J. for further deployment to NYC.
The primary mission for these Reservists is to provide lifesaving in-flight patient care in response to contingencies and humanitarian emergencies. These are specialized medical teams, consisting of flight nurses, aeromedical evacuation technicians and support personnel. These teams can operate on a number of U.S. Air Force aircraft including the C-130H/J, C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135R, KC-10 Extender and the C-5 Galaxy.
“We train to bring our heroes home, whether it be from the frontline of a combat zone or the frontline of a humanitarian mission, the Citizen Airmen of the 45th AE [Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron] are ready,” said Lt. Col. Victoria Mathews, 45th AES, director of operations. “To see a group of professionals come together so quickly with very limited details is absolutely amazing, I am very proud of them.”
This mobilization is part of a larger package across the Air Force Reserve of over 100 aeromedical evacuation personnel and aircraft, headed to support COVID-19 response and to take care of Americans
The call for aeromedical support came just days after the Air Force Reserve mobilized more than 120 medical personnel across the nation to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, to help with the fight against COVID-19 in New York City. The specific mission details are still in coordination but the Air Force Reservists can provide critical care at any location worldwide.
“It’s a unique experience for sure. The world has never encountered this before and there is a lot of uncertainty about what this mission will look like for us. But we are all blessed to be healthy and able to do the mission we signed up to do, get medical help to those troops that need it,” said Capt. Jake Silvola-Finch, 45th AES, flight nurse. “It’s not easy to leave your family and friends during such a scary time, but we are excited for the opportunity to do the mission we train for.”
As COVID-19 response requirements for more medical personnel, aeromedical evacuation capabilities, logistics experts and other specialties grow, the Air Force Reserve was granted the authority to activate the inactive Reserve, as needed, by the President’s March 27 Executive Order.
Airmen willing to volunteer for mobilization should contact their squadron commander, unit deployment manager, Readiness Integration Office Detachment, Functional Area Manager and if medical, email: HQAFRC.SG.AFRCPHEOs@us.af.mil, to self-identify their availability. In the body of the e-mail please provide your name, rank, AFSC, assigned/attached unit, civilian email, address, phone number and if you are currently involved in COVID-19 response in your civilian job.
For additional questions and answers regarding mobilization of the Select Reserve and the IRR, visit the Q&A section at www.afrc.af.mil/covid-19.