by Staff Sgt. Melissa White
JTF-505 Public Affairs
5/15/2015 - KATHMANDU, Nepal -- U.S.
service members assisted government of Nepal and U.S. Agency for
International Development officials with providing medical care for
earthquake victims at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu,
Nepal, May 12.
U.S. Airmen, Marines and Sailors transported, triaged and provided minor
medical care to approximately 44 patients who were evacuated to the
airfield from remote, outlying villages after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake
rattled the region just more than two weeks after a 7.8 magnitude
earthquake devastated the nation.
The joint-service team worked together to transport the patients
arriving on U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.
Patients were transferred on litters to a flightline aid station where
they were triaged and given minor medical care. After they were
stabilized, the teams loaded the patients on to ambulances for further
transport to the local Nepalese army hospital.
"It's amazing how we can all work together when it comes down to it,"
said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Gomez-Hickman, Marine
Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 corpsman. "Whatever uniform we wear
doesn't matter right now, and the Nepalese army soldiers really helped
out with translating to expedite the process."
The teams at the aid station received the first patients approximately
30 minutes after the earthquake hit. The station was originally capable
of hosting four patients in a tent with additional cots set up in direct
sunlight for overflow. The U.S. Air Force 36th Contingency Response
Group Airmen, assigned to Joint Task Force-505, came to the site shortly
thereafter and increased the aid station capability to approximately 15
protected patient treatment areas by providing and setting up tents and
Gomez-Hickman said she was thankful for the improved facility which
helped expedite the processing of patient care while also providing a
safer environment and protection from the sun and weather for those
affected by the earthquake.
The 36th CRG Airmen originally deployed to Nepal on May 5 from Andersen
Air Force Base, Guam, to help the government of Nepal and USAID with
airfield operations, but the second earthquake changed their primary
"This was not what we originally came here to do," said U.S. Air Force
Tech. Sgt. Honorata Fernandez, 36th CRG independent duty medical
technician. "I wasn't expecting another earthquake to hit after we got
here, but I'm glad my skills can be used to help people during this