Providing aeromedical mission expertise on the newest US Air Force refueler

KC-46A Pegasus
Courtesy Photo | Staff Sgt. Loy Nelson, right, 167th AES aeromedical evacuation technician, and Lt. Col. Charles Mertz, 167th AES chief nurse, pose in front of KC-46A Pegasus during a recent visit to McConnell Air Force Base, KS. 167th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron based at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, West Virginia, recently traveled to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, to offer expertise and feedback on outfitting the KC-46A for the aeromedical evacuation mission. (Courtesy Photo via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s 167th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) in the US travelled to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas to provide mission expertise and feedback on outfitting the KC-46A Pegasus for the aeromedical evacuation mission

Along with a small contingent on aeromedical career field airmen, Lt Col Charles Mertz, 167th AES Chief Nurse, and Staff Sgt Loy Nelson, 167th AES aeromedical evacuation technician, gained first-hand opportunity to work though the outfitting of the aircraft, offering advice that may well be implemented in future missions for the KC-46A.

Working on the KC-46A, the Air Force’s newest refueler that is also able to provide medical transport services, presented the crew members with a chance to refresh their aeromedical mission knowledge while also enabling them to familiarise themselves with the new airframe and provide valuable feedback to the US Air Force.

“With every job, you can become complacent and things become second nature,” said Nelson. “When you go to a new aircraft and have to explain something to someone who doesn’t know your career field or what you need for your job to run it successfully, for me to be able to think back and go through the checklist and the requirements that we need to get off the ground, it was great to have a voice in that.”

Mertz added that going into the situation with an open mind was essential: “You have to solve problems and help develop new ways to solve problems that others have not thought about. You have to go with an open mind and realise that what worked in the past might not work for this new aircraft and come up with ways to solve the problem to get the mission done.”

Additional aeromedical feedback sessions and training missions are to take place in the future.