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Charleston Reservists train with Royal Air Force counterparts

  • Published
  • By Capt. Marquel Coaxum

Aeromedical evacuation professionals from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, took a hop across “the Pond” for hands-on immersion training with their Royal Air Force counterparts at RAF Brize Norton, England in June.

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron teamed up with members of the RAF’s 4626 Squadron for the four-day session that provided both important classroom lessons and live aeromedical training.

“In a deployed location, both of our teams may have the opportunity to work alongside one another, so it’s key that we conduct coalition operations to understand how we both operate,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Murray, 315th AES chief nurse, who headed several sections of the training. “This builds critical cross-nation interoperability skills and gives us the ability to understand what each of our teams brings to the fight and an elevated understanding of how we can be most effective in accomplishing the mission as a combined medical response force.”

The Charleston Reservists wasted no time during the trip. They ran a fast-paced training scenario as soon as the C-17 Globemaster III reached cruising altitude on its way to England. The scenario included in-flight patient assessment and treatment on both a live patient and a simulation mannequin.

Tech. Sgt. Storm Ford was one of the primary in-flight medical providers during the in-flight training.

“In-flight scenarios accomplish several things,” Ford said. “They allow us the opportunity to hone our skills as medical providers on diverse patient conditions and outcomes and see how the physical pressures of flight affect a patient and the care we can provide. We have to be able to react fast and effectively to make sure we’re meeting our patients’ needs so when we are faced with real-time live missions, we can be ready to operate efficiently, bringing the highest levels of patient care to anyone who needs us around the globe.”

After a day of classroom instructions at RAF Brize Norton, training went full-throttle with several live small-scale air operation exercises on both a ground-stationed static C-17 and on a full mockup fuselage trainer of the RAF’s newest and most advanced mobility aircraft, the A400M Atlas.

The sessions included litter building, patient transport technique instruction, critical patient treatment and even a simulated ground aircraft fire evacuation, complete with fake smoke, aboard the Atlas.

“It’s absolutely amazing to have this experience, because familiarity makes it easy when you come together as one,” said RAF Cpl. Mashel Banks. “Having been in the Air Force for five years, this is my first time actually seeing the inside of an aircraft. It’s amazing to come see the setup and learn about the build of the aircraft.”

Master Sgt. Maria Wesloh, an aeromedical evacuation technician examiner, said the training brought new experiences and knowledge to take back to Charleston.

“This was very important because we will likely integrate with our United Kingdom counterparts in the future in support of missions around the world,” she said. “The interoperability development between our units was key. When we consider how we’ll operate together in deployed environments globally, it’s so important to cultivate and grow these types of relationships.”

(Coaxum is assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)