Maxwell medics train with Army National Guard, broaden knowledge, skillset

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Greydon Furstenau
  • Air University Public Affairs

The 42nd Medical Group held a joint training exercise with the Alabama Army National Guard to help its medics maintain readiness and be prepared for future deployments.

During the training, the group’s Airmen traversed four stations: palate building, self-aid buddy care and two versions of escorting a casualty onto a Humvee or helicopter.

“The exercise served as an opportunity to train on readiness skills in preparation for future fights,” said Chief Master Sgt. Davis Quentin, the senior enlisted leader of the 42nd Medical Group. “Combat medics will be called to do a number of tasks, and it’s our responsibility as leaders to prepare them to answer the call.”

The medical team has been practicing for the past year, but on March 16, 2023, they got a taste of what it was like to operate in a “remote location” with limited resources out at Maxwell’s Blue Thunder expeditionary training site.

At the first station, the medics focused on triaging wounded patients. It started off with a briefing about IDM – immediate, delayed or minimal – and then broke down treatment techniques in an isolated environment and with limited resources. They learned how to make do with what they had on hand and how to use makeshift tools. They also worked under strict time constraints, giving a touch of realism to a situation that could mean life or death.

At their next station, the medics built, inspected and loaded pallets for patients, all the while asking themselves, “Is it hazardous? Will they need it on an aircraft?” and “Is it readily accessible?” The training gave medics insight into knowing what the pallet is and how to properly break them down.

In the final training scenario for the day, the medics transported a casualty from “point A to point B,” learning how to transport patients without further injuring them.  Airmen were able to use a Humvee and a helicopter for this training, provided by the Army National Guard. During the helicopter portion of the training, some of the Army’s non-commissioned officers taught Airmen how to escort a patient onto the helicopter while it was running.

“It’s important to understand that loading and unloading patients with different modes of transport is going to be critical in the next fight,” said Lt. Col. Lena Williams Cox, 42nd Medical Group Primary Care flight commander. “We’re not always going to have air superiority, and we need to know how to get the patient to the next level of care. So, we are looking at a Humvee, at a copter and at getting my equipment with that patient. It all ties together to take care of our warfighters.”