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NEWS | Aug. 24, 2022

Nebraska and Missouri Air National Guard Medical Groups Train in Japan

By Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Nielsen 155th Air Refueling Wing, Nebraska Air National

OKINAWA, Japan -- The 155th Medical Group from the Nebraska Air National Guard along with personnel from the 139th Medical Group from Missouri Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri completed their Military Facility Annual Training at the U. S. Naval Hospital, Aug 2-11, 2022.

The two-week training provided real-life experiences in a hospital that the guard members are not exposed to on regularly scheduled drills. The medical facility's annual training tours are only offered to units that exceed their medical readiness standards set by the National Guard Bureau.

Medical units are graded quarterly on certain criteria called individual medical readiness, to include vaccine status, blood draws, dental and preventative health assessments," said Lt. Col. Amy Johnson, medical administrative officer, 155th Medical Group, Nebraska.

Johnson explains the importance of performing military facility annual training.

"Any medical specialty that came on the trip had the opportunity to train to meet their comprehensive Medical Readiness Program medical requirements," said Johnson. "We took along doctors, nurse practitioners, administrative specialists, respiratory therapy, public health, bio-environmental, medics, and a physician assistant. They all have different requirements to keep up on their skills and it's important to meet these requirements to ensure the AFSC-specific skills that allow an Airman to perform the full scope of duties associated with their specialty to be prepared to step up and deploy if needed."

Along with how important tasks are to Airmen, Johnson adds how this contributes to the 155th mission at home.

"This gave them the opportunity to work clinically in an active duty hospital intensive care unit, emergency department, a respiratory therapy unit, multiple-service ward, dental, and so forth. It is good training at an active duty facility where you know you are going to get the training and it's going to be very busy."

The 155th Air Refueling Wing's medical mission statement is to respond anytime, anywhere in support of homeland defense or expeditionary operations with a competent and ready medical force. All 38 members volunteered that were in need of specialized requirements and while doing so gained a valuable understanding of processes.

Capt. Amye Dusatko, a registered nurse with the 155th Medical Group, added to why this training is essential.

"It is important to maintaining our mission essential medical skills and clinical readiness," said Dusatko. "By partnering with our Naval counterparts, we are given the opportunity for hands-on experience with traumas and other injuries, expanding our skill set and ensuring we are ready when called upon for duty."

This rang true with the training medical received and demonstrated the joint effectiveness and efforts working as a joint team. According to the DoD initiatives, drawing down total military end strengths, forces must continue to exploit ways to become a more efficient and effective total force.

Likewise, Dusatko also talked about working alongside another branch in a joint environment.

"The Navy Physicians and Corpsman here offer such a wide array of experience and it has been extremely beneficial to work alongside them," said Dusatko.

"This MFAT was especially rewarding in that we were able to provide support during a time that they were otherwise short staffed. Not only did we get our training; but, we were able to backfill critical areas, easing the the burden on our Naval brothers and sisters."

Dusatko continued to express their gratitude for helping the community. "Whether tending to a physical injury, or mental health crisis; we got the opportunity to care for and make a difference in the lives of others during their time of need," said Dusatko. "As a nurse, you are often involved in the most meaningful moments of one's life, and there is nothing more rewarding than caring for and serving fellow service members and their dependents, who sacrifice so much."

Talking with a brand new airman, Airman 1st Class Christopher Sabatka a medic with the 155th Medical Group, who has deployed with the group to his first temporary duty station explains the importance of training as a team.

"I would tell anyone or a new person coming to our unit to always volunteer and train with your unit. To train with them was very bonding, we felt like an actual group was a great experience that I will never forget."

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