E-52’s Commander, Maj. Sean Kenney, is dual branched with military intelligence and has 19 years of service. He commented: “I think they’re both (rotary and fixed) awesome aircraft, unique in their own right. Rotary wing operates tactically lower to the ground supporting the soldiers on the ground, whereas our unit’s fixed wing capability is employed at the theater level. Fixed wing is a small niche but used widely throughout the world.”
One of Kenney’s unit mission essential tasks includes casualty evacuation; a unique intra-theater capability to safely transport patients from anywhere in Korea to any place on the peninsula or to Japan as mission dictates. The training consisted of rehearsals, medical procedures for safely loading and unloading a patient on-off the aircraft, and medical care during a mock one hour flight.
“Our goal is to bridge the gap between the front lines and the hospital,” said Maj. Andrew Oh, Commander of 135th Team at Camp Humphreys. “Our portion of training was focused on the end of patient care. We train on various aircrafts to include fixed wing. During the two-to-three hour CASEVAC flight we will train on patient care, interventions, chest tubes, intubations, and oxygenation,” stated Oh, a native of McLean, Virginia.
The CASEVAC training isn’t just putting a patient on an aircraft and taking them from A to B. The teams involved must coordinate with hospital staff, ambulatory teams, and flight operation all while facilitating medical care. The process of transporting a patient from injury point to the aircraft, while engines are turning, takes practice and precision. Army C-12s can be configured to enable essential medical care during the CASEVAC flight. Litters are secured to the inside of the aircraft while medical staff attend to the wounded service member. The airmen of the FRST factor rotor wind chill and utilize large warming blankets to ensure patients stay warm while being transferred.
Capt. Daniel Stern, Airforce Flight Surgeon, assigned to 25th Fire Squadron, 51st Medical Group, whose unit is tasked to respond to mass casualty events shared his thoughts on the training. “I was assigned to a C-130 unit at Bagram, Afghanistan for about four months during my first assignment. It allowed me to gain experience with air medical evacuations in a deployed environment which definitely helped prepare me for the training we did today.”
“Fixed wing aircraft are a little bit easier to go longer distances compared to rotary wing aircraft. C12’s are a pretty tight space inside the aircraft, compared to the Airforce C-130 or C-17 typically used for AME [aeromedical evacuation] missions. For the CASEVAC, this is a classic Army aircraft to quickly transport patients. I think today was an outstanding proof of concept for working together with multiple units forming one solitary mission mindset,” said Stern, a Woodridge, Virginia native.
Kenney went on to say, “Sharing our lessons learned and conducting this type of joint service training validates 2CAB’s interoperability, ensures everyone has familiarity in terms of what the CASEVAC looks like from start to finish as we maintain our fight tonight mentality. When transferring a patient we need to identify the many considerations a patient may have as they are going from one destination to the next so they can receive the medical care they need to recover.”