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86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron makes history

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jordan Lazaro
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – The 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron embarked on the Air Force’s first-ever AE paramedic-led flight in charge of an all-enlisted medical crew here, April 6, 2023.

Since the 1970s, AE flight crews have consisted of at least one commissioned nurse and an enlisted medical technician. With this program, the strict requirement that a nurse must be on the mission was eliminated. An all-enlisted crew allows for AE squadrons to use emergency medicine field paramedics to provide care in the air, which combines the skills of nurses and medical technicians. The Air Force will now be able to send out more teams - even when manning is limited.

“This will help us be even more ready for the fight,” said Col. Vanessa Moses, 86th AES commander. “It will provide us with a larger team to pull from and increase our availability to run specific missions with a crew that holds a specific skill set.”

Tech. Sgt. Brendon Bowman, 86th AES flight examiner and emergency medical paramedic, explained the initial idea was created by Chief Master Sgt. David Denton in 2017, but the program was executed by Bowman and Tech. Sgt. Coley Kicklighter, 60th AES paramedic element non-commissioned officer in charge at Travis Air Force Base, California, in 2021.

This program took two years and a team of diverse leaders to come to fruition, explained Bowman. Some major players included members from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Mobility Command.

Chief Master Sgt. Britton Adams, Defense Health Agency joint trauma system flight chief, who was on the initial team that launched the program, noted the importance of this movement in regard to a combatant command and how this will aid in bridging the gap between wartime scenarios and proper medical care.

As an Airman in the 86th AES, it is their job to pick up patients in whatever medical condition they may be in and provide them with transportation and care to ensure they reach a location that can provide them with the highest level of care.

“With manning being limited and squadrons only having so many available nurses to be sent out, we can increase the availability of members and teams who can assist and still provide the highest level of care,” said Bowman. “If we ever get to a point where we need to deal with a mass casualty incident, we have created a program that allows more medical crews to go out in hopes to save more lives.”

To ensure the success of the program, Bowman and Kicklighter worked with Chief Master Sgt. Dejnekki Peyton, AMC aeromedical evacuation consultant, when presenting a paramedic and scope of practice protocols and creating skill sustainment platforms to ensure every paramedic stays proficient in their paramedic medical care.

Bowman's hard work has paid off and he is leading the first ever all enlisted medical team flight.

“I cannot say it enough – It is the team of people working with and beside me to make this happen,” Bowman said. “This is literally something that will directly lead to lives being saved and future conflicts being treated differently from the medical aspect.”

After mission completion, Bowman and Tech. Sgt. Alexander Stinauer, 86th AES aeromedical evacuation technician, successfully transported their patient to receive the proper care they needed.

“I could not be more proud of my team,” expressed Moses, “The success of this mission will not only open doors for aeromedical evacuation squadrons around the globe, but it will aid in providing additional medical capabilities at a quicker rate.”