MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. —
“Training days are so important because we are here as a defense force, medical readiness, and we’re here to deploy… if we’re needed,” stated Tech Sgt. Nathan Langel, Flight Chief of medical readiness and Command Support Staff.
The 5th Medical Group conducted a Ready Eagle exercise for their Airmen to train and practice skills relevant to a mass casualty situation. The exercise is intended to test the proficiency of the Airmen to ensure that they are capable of responding to emergencies that could occur. During the exercise, an accident was simulated that resulted in multiple injuries and an exposure to hazardous chemicals. The Airmen were challenged with correctly prepping and responding to the patients, they then had to decontaminate and triage them, deciding whether the patients needed a higher level of care.
“In this specific instance, we were simulating that the highway 83 is closed, so that we can’t get them down to Trinity,” explained Langel. “We tested our capabilities in house to push them to… failure, not in a bad way, but to find out where our faults lie so we can work to correct them.”
The Airmen were able to practice their Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), the decontamination process (DCON), and their operation in high-tempo situations. Practicing these skills can help to prepare the 5th MDG for unexpected incidents and promote confidence in the Airmen.
“This is another instance for Airmen at every level, every position within the Med Group to build confidence to practice some of their skills, to identify areas that they continue to need improvement,” stated Maj. Patrick McCue, 5th Medical Group Air Medical Physician Assistant. “To see a full course of how a situation like this may unfold oftentimes.”
The entire 5th MDG played a part in the Ready Eagle, roughly 200 Airmen, and 25 moulage patients participated in the exercise. Moulage patients were Airmen from outside organizations to act as the injured patients. There was also a team of Medical Airmen from Air Force Global Strike Command to review the 5th MDG processes during the exercise. They assure that the 5th MDG is properly aligned with the Air Force Instruction (AFI) to ensure they would meet the mission of the exercise.
The exercise created a realistic learning environment for everyone that participated in it, and allowed the Airmen to obtain practice for key medical skills. Exercises like this one, are important in keeping the 5th MDG mission-ready for possible incidents.
“I think there’s always room for improvement… We need time to practice so that we can be as good as we can to provide them optimize health care,” explained McCue. “We really appreciate when folks understand that.”
A team of 5th Medical Group (MDG) Airmen attempt to stabilize a simulated patient during a 5th MDG training day at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Jan. 18, 2023. The training simulated that the patient suffered a life threatening hemorrhage, a brain injury and...