by Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
6/10/2015 - Ramstein Air Base, Germany -- Strategic
Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) multi-national aircrew
members from Pápa Air Base, Hungary, partnered with a critical care
aeromedical transportation team (CCATT) stationed at Ramstein Air Base,
Germany, to receive two wounded patients June 8, 2015, in Bulgaria.
Two units came together for this first CCATT mission to transport
patients, with one in critical condition, traveling approximately 2,000
miles from Bulgaria to Ramstein where they would receive additional
"Our C-17 (Globemaster III) pilots always had the capability to
accomplish a CCATT mission," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Stephen
Blackstone, Heavy Airlift Wing pilot. "Our airframe is designed to
become a flying intensive care unit and it is great to showcase our
ability to accomplish this, integrating that experience is only going to
make us better."
Adapting the best practices in the U.S. Air Force, Royal Canadian air
force, Australian air force and the United Kingdom's Royal air force,
the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing ensures they are
operationally ready for any mission, securing their role as the world's
first and only multinational C-17 wing. The wing's structure is designed
to operate in support of the Strategic Airlift Capability's mission of
providing combat and humanitarian airlift, airdrop and aeromedical
evacuation wherever and whenever required.
"It was a great experience working with all the nations on board," said
Maj. Scott Jensen, 86th Medical Squadron critical care air transport
team physician. "The most important thing we learned during the mission
is that the Heavy Airlift Wing's team is capable of executing a flawless
patient transport, and it is definitely something I see us utilizing
more in the future."
Though members include the U.S. and eleven European countries, the SAC
program operates independently of any command by the European Union,
United Nations, or NATO.
"Apart from the U.S. pilots, none of the other nation's personnel in
this squadron have previous experience flying a C-17," Blackstone said.
"We have fighter, helicopter, even propeller pilots operating this
massive cargo airframe so our training needs to be the best of the best
to respond to these real world missions."
In 2014, the Heavy Airlift Wing accomplished 251 mission requests from
12 nations and transported more than 20 million pounds of cargo.
"We perform essentially every mission a U.S. C-17 unit does," Blackstone
said. "Medical evacuation, strategic airlift and tactical airlift and
now CCATT AirEvac to name a few, as well as accomplish missions
requested by the other 11 nations that are a part of our unit."
By accomplishing the CCATT mission, the Heavy Airlift Wing team hopes
they will be utilized more often and for more diverse operations.
"Every new mission set we do is rewarding to the unit," Blackstone said.
"We undergo a lot of training to ensure we maintain these abilities and
I believe we are one of the best options to accomplish CCATT missions,
especially with how close we are to Ramstein."
The Strategic Airlift Capability gives its member nations cost effective access to jointly owned and operated strategic airlift.