Combined, interagency medical training enhances care for Airmen

Air Force photograph by Giancarlo Casem

Senior Airman Mark Graham, 412th Security Forces Squadron, provides hands-on training on an M16 rifle to a 412th Medical Group Airman during a training event at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 1, 2018. Weapons training gives the Airmen the basics to react to enemy contact to able to render aid to victims.

“Train as you fight, fight as you train,” is a military mantra that every Airman can implement in their training, and the Airmen of the 412th Medical Group is training to fight for their fellow Airmen’s lives.

The 412th Medical Group conducted their monthly training at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 1, 2018. For the month’s training session, the Medical Group trained with their fellow emergency responders from the 412th Security Forces Squadron and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“Here at the center of the aerospace testing universe, our medics need to be able to provide the right care at the right place, anywhere, anytime; that includes at home station and down range,” said Col. Gwendolyn Foster, 412th MDG commander. “Through our trusted care principles, you always have ready medics ensuring our war fighter brothers and sisters are always medically ready to be a lethal, ready force.

“Right now, we do not always get to train with our line-side brothers and sisters, so we are working hard to sync our (training) days to allow us to exercise together. We need to train like it’s real.”

Members of a helicopter crew from the Los Angeles County Fire Department provide helicopter familiarization to Airmen from the 412th Medical Group during a training event at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 1, 2018. Interagency training allows the Airmen to be familiar with the helicopter, its crew and proper medevac standard operating procedures as Edwards AFB does not have native air medevac capabilities.

The day’s training scenarios included providing care under fire, helicopter medevac operations, basic and weapons familiarization among others. The helicopter was provided by the LACoFD, which is the Medical Group’s real-world partner in providing medevac services to Edwards Airmen, their families, and civilians.

“This type of training and coordination with outside agencies is key to our success when a disaster strikes,” said 2nd Lt. Nathaniel Scheer, 412th MDG, Flight Readiness Flight Commander. “We all hope we will never need to coordinate because of a disaster; however, we need to be aware of how to work together before we actually need it.”     
The presence of the helicopter and its crew allowed the Airmen to receive basic familiarization of the aircraft, crew, loading principles and ground-based medic responsibilities, Foster said.

“The training allows us to practice like it is real,” she said. “Simulation will only get you so far and in a time of crisis, every second counts.”

Airmen from the 412th SFS provided a hands-on basic systems training with the M16 rifle and the Humvee.

“Medics are a force multiplier by being able to return wounded members back to the fight,” Scheer said.  “We need to be able to conduct care under fire to stabilize members quickly and effectively so that we can get back to returning fire. We deploy with weapons, it seems to be a common misconception that we are not able to handle weapons or defend ourselves. Medics need to be able to handle and control their weapons the same as the rest.”

Airmen from the 412th Medical Group provides care under fire for a “victim” during a training exercise at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 1, 2018. The training ensures that Edwards medics are able to provide care in austere conditions.