The mission at Luke Air Force Base is to train the world’s greatest F-16 and F-35 fighter pilots, which is impossible without the help of 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Flight Medicine. Flight medicine ensures pilots and air crew are fhealthy enough to take to the skies.
“We are the people that determine whether or not a pilot is fit to fly,” said Staff Sgt. Jovanny Reyes, 56th AMDS medical technician. “We provide medical care for air crews, controllers and special operations duty personnel. Our personnel have to be ready to respond at any given time.”
Flight medicine is prepared on a daily basis for anything that could happen on the flight line.
“We provide emergency response for the flightline,” Reyes said. “We respond to anything related to aircraft mishaps. We ensure the crew is taken care of and clear or deny them for flight status if they are not physiologically well.”
Reyes is a shift leader and along with the responsibility of helping to ensure pilots are fit to fly, he’s also responsible for assigning and taking care of on-call duties for personnel. Airman 1st Class Shawn Martinez, 56th AMDS flight medicine technician, is one of many Airmen in the flight who responds to incidents on the flightline and checks the well-being of the Airmen that work with flight crews.
“It’s hard to say on any given day what we will be doing,” Martinez said. “Every day is different; it can be extremely busy with many people coming in or slow at times with just a handful of people showing up. We just try to stay ready and prepared for anything because there isn’t a lot of consistency on what we will be taking care of day to day.”
Reyes made it clear that flight medicine plays a critical role in day-to-day operations for pilots and aircrews.
“If flight medicine was not ensuring pilots were physiologically well, the mission would not be accomplished to train the world’s greatest F-16 pilots because they would be unable to fly,” he said. “It is our responsibility to help prepare pilots for flight and clear them for flying status.”