NEWS | Jan. 31, 2018

Dealing Out Care from Land, Sea and Air

By Staff Sgt. Matthew B. Fredericks 18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Medical personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force conducted a field training exercise at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26.

The training tested their ability to process a large amount of patients in the event of a disaster or contingency operation.

U.S. Army 1-1 Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment and U.S. Navy medical personnel assisted with the transportation and care of wounded patients.

“It’s important for us to train together mainly because we need to be able to use all the assets available to us, and know we are there for each other,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Parra, 1-1 ADA emergency care sergeant. “We’re not just one Army or one Air Force; it’s a whole sister service community here, and we need to help each other out.”

Patients who were untreatable at the 18th Medical Group clinic were either transported to U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa or prepped for transport to more robust or specialized care off of the island.

“We are basically the middle-man between the patients once they get stabilized at the hospital setting, and before they are placed on an aircraft to get evacuated to a higher echelon of care,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Melissa Hendricks, 18th MDG flight medicine flight commander. “We bring them here, make sure they’re stable, make sure they’re ready to go for flight, and then we are that escort out to the flightline to hand them over to the AE [aeromedical evacuation] team.”

The En Route Patient Staging System is one way the medical group used to accomplish the task of caring for moving stabilized patients who require aeromedical evacuation.

“These capabilities benefit both Kadena and the region because there are not a large number of medical facilities out in the Pacific, and we are one of those,” Hendricks said. “If a contingency event were to happen, we need to be ready to practice in that wartime scenario-type training, and be able to get our wounded members out of this AOR [area of responsibility] and back to a higher echelon of care.”

With the diverse military make-up present on Okinawa, the medical community has the unique opportunity to train and work together on a regular basis.

“Everyone has their own area of expertise that they can bring to the table,” said Hendricks. “In the big scheme of things, if we don’t work together for patient care, we will be short-falling ourselves.”