HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- When it comes to aeromedical patient care in the Indo-Pacific region, one of the United States’ closest allies takes “mateship” to a new level.
Australia and the United States have a proud history of working together in times of crisis for over 100 years. Their relationship continues to grow as Pacific Air Forces hosted the first-ever aeromedical virtual knowledge exchange with the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) 3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (3AMES), here July 25.
The virtual knowledge exchange served as a venue for open dialogue between the RAAF’s 3AMES and the U.S. Air Force’s 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, about various operational tactics, techniques and procedures in the medical field.
“We hope this is the first of many virtual knowledge exchanges, where we can share patient care practices and techniques,” said Col. Susan Moran, Pacific Air Forces Command Surgeon. “Australia has been a key partner and today’s event builds on the legacy of our successful exercises such as Cope North. The U.S. and Australia remain committed to aeromedical evacuation and interoperability, paving the way for others.”
Approximately 50 USAF and RAAF aeromedical experts remotely participated in the training from Hawaii, Australia and Japan. The longstanding partnership with Australia is an alliance that reflects – and promotes – shared values as liberal democracies, supporting a more open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
“Our nations have many similarities including patient care practices and the same types of aircraft used in transportation,” said Wing Commander Joleen Darby, Royal Australian Air Force Senior Aviation Medical Officer. “Through this virtual event we are able to dive deeper and focus on the clinical structure of patient care and in the end extend our reach by working together.”
According to Darby, the Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force both use the C-17 Globemaster and the C-130 Hercules for patient transportation. One difference in mission demand with the Royal Australian Air Force is their provision of large scale civilian patient movement and critical care evacuations.
During the event, some of the notable discussion topics included patient movement practices and procedures, open air COVID movement processes and opportunities for future collaboration.
The United States and Australia will continue working to overcome challenges by building health and economic resilience, advancing a positive agenda in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and defending and revitalizing the rules-based international order and its foundational values and principles.
“This is about enhancing our capabilities,” said Group Captain Mathew Hetherington, Royal Australian Air Force Liaison Officer to PACAF. “Together, we are definitely stronger, and it takes all of us to get there.”