Interagency exercise boosts medical readiness

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryan Guthrie
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – The 99th Medical Group (MDG), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) took part in an exercise called Operation Foremost Endeavor where injured individuals in a simulated disaster were airlifted to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 19.

The exercise was intended to give officials, observers, media personnel and participants information they need to observe or participate in a National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) hospital evacuation, aeromedical evacuation and patient reception exercise.

“This exercise was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the national disaster and medical system and how the different federal entities support one another and overall support our nation in the event of a tragic national emergency,” said Col. Wade Adair, 99th Medical Group Administrator.

Operation Foremost Endeavor focuses on participants’ emergency response plans, policies and procedures as they pertain to a surge of medical incidents resulting from a disaster in California.

The exercise simulated an earthquake in southern California that caused a multitude of different injuries that had personnel and victims airlifted from the scene of the disaster.

Felix Acevedo, VA Medical Center North Las Vegas Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, said we’ll never know when the next human-created or natural disaster will happen so anytime they get an opportunity to work with the Department of Defense, Federal Agencies and the community, it makes everyone more resilient and prepared.

A multitude of different units participated in the exercise including a team from Mississippi.

A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 172d Airlift Wing and a team of Aerospace Medical Service Airmen assigned to the 183d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from the Mississippi Air National Guard at Thompson Field ANG Base, Miss., flew here for their first Federal Coordination Exercise at Nellis.

Approximately 60 simulated patients were given different levels of injuries ranging from minimal wounds to critical care needed. The 99th MDG and VA personnel were tested on how quickly and efficiently they could in-process, assess and get them to the hospital for their appropriate injury.

Operation Foremost Endeavor is the first Federal Coordination Exercise here in eight years. Normally the 99th MDG is in charge for these exercises but in this case, the VA took the lead.