by Tech. Sergeants Lynette Olivares and Paul Santikko
133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
9/29/2015 - Camp Ripley Training Center, Minn. -- The
capabilities of the Minnesota National Guard's 109th Aeromedical
Squadron were recently put to the test during Vigilant Guard, a
state-wide exercise to improve the state's military and civilian
responders' ability to work together during a natural disaster.
Vigilant Guard is a United States Northern Command and National Guard
Bureau sponsored exercise designed to improve emergency coordination,
response and recovery management with federal, regional, local, civilian
and military partners.
During natural disasters or other state emergencies, saving time saves
lives. If civilian capabilities are overwhelmed, National Guard and
other military resources can be called upon to move critical patients
from remote scenes to distant medical facilities quickly.
"Our role in the exercise is to stabilize and transport patients from
the field to higher echelons of care," said 109th AES Director of
Operations Maj. Jeramy Browning. "Our highly-trained flight medics care
for sick and wounded patients, maintain their health and well-being
aboard the plane, getting them to the definitive care they need. Being
able to participate in this exercise helps us refresh protocol and
procedures of working with civil authorities, sister services as well as
state and local entities."
During the exercise, the aircrew and medical team of the 109th
transported simulated patients from the 133rd Airlift Wing in St. Paul
to Camp Ripley. On arrival, the team worked with other National Guard
medical personnel to transport additional mock patients from UH-60
Blackhawk helicopters to the unit's C-130H Hercules aircraft to simulate
the continuation of care during a state emergency.
"This exercise gives us a great opportunity to improve our
interoperability with the Army Guard, civilian healthcare providers and
emergency response personnel," said Aeromedical Evacuation Technician
Staff Sgt. Britt Monio. "In the event of a future, real world scenario
like this, we know that we will be well prepared and the incident
command system should run effectively, so that patients get the medical
care they need in the fastest and safest way possible."
Using volunteers portraying victims, the 109th Airmen trained on a
variety of in-flight processes and procedures, including litter carries
across a flight line, checking and maintaining vital signs, and
maintaining the overall care of patients in flight.
"Every single person in our squadron loves what they do," said Browning.
"I'm so proud of my unit and the great work they do - whether it's on
base during a drill weekend or they are flying around the state or world
helping people with their outstanding level of care."