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20th MDG exercises in combat environment

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group carry simulated patients and equipment during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group carry simulated patients and equipment during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018. The exercise tested the Airmen’s ability to provide patient care in a hostile environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group strap a simulated patient to a litter during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group strap a simulated patient to a litter during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018. The Airmen secured the patient to avoid injury during transportation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group carry a simulated patient during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group carry a simulated patient during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018. The Airmen stabilized the patient, applied a tourniquet and carried it to safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

A U.S. Airman shoots blanks from an M-240 machine gun during an exercise put on by the 20th Medical Group (MDG) at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018.

A U.S. Airman shoots blanks from an M-240 machine gun during an exercise put on by the 20th Medical Group (MDG) at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018. The Airman simulated hostile fire, prompting 20th MDG Airmen to take cover while providing care to the simulated wounded. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group place a simulated patient on a litter during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Medical Group place a simulated patient on a litter during an exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 2, 2018. The Airmen drilled proper patient transfer to minimize injuries during medical exfiltration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Ingold)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Boom! With rain on the horizon and fog filling the air, 20th Medical Group Airmen rush to provide care to simulated patients through their deployed patient care exercise, Aug 2.

The exercise tested Airmen on their ability to safely evacuate simulated wounded patients from a vehicle hit by a simulated improvised explosive device.

“Our Airmen are really appreciative to get hands-on training and to have the opportunity to learn,” said Lt. Col. Melissa Meister, 20th Medical Support Squadron commander. “This is an open environment that focuses on training and not necessarily whether or not you are screwing up.

To create realism, the training involved the firing of a cannon, the shooting of an M-240 machine gun and a smoke machine.”

“The cannon and gunshots made it very real and very intense,” said Senior Airman Tessa Tugo, 20th MDG medical lab technician. “They did a really good job with that.”

The exercise served as a reminder of the realities medical Airmen face downrange.

“We are responsible for medical readiness, but we need to make sure we are combat-ready medics,” said Lt. Col. Marquita Price, 20th Medical Operations Squadron commander. “Today allowed us to practice like we play and provide care in a stressful environment like the ones we might encounter when we deploy.”