Working hand in hand, operating as one: 405th EAES conduct coalition exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dalton Williams, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

Working hand in hand alongside three nations, Airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron conducted a coalition training exercise on how they configure and transport patients on U.S. Air Force aircraft at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, July 29, 2022.

Medical professionals from Canada, Denmark and Italy were able to learn and share tactics and techniques with each other so in an emergency response situation, the 405th EAES and coalition partners would be able to operate with the strength and coordination of one team.

“It's really important to know what equipment the other nations have, what their capabilities are and the general knowledge of how they function and do things for air evac,” said Staff Sgt. Frank Schaffer, 405th EAES aeromedical evacuation technician. “If something were to happen, we’re better able to work together as an entire fighting force and complete that mission of getting our patients and injured personnel out of areas that they're at, and get them back to a place where they can be taken care of.”

When tasked to evacuate a wounded service member, the details matter. Just a single minute wasted can risk a more serious injury to the individual or worse. This training was able to dive into the specifics on how the 405th EAES tackles everything from establishing initial roles and responsibilities of each crew member and working hands-on with medical equipment, to responding to different aircraft emergency scenarios.

It can be cliché to call something a ‘melting pot’, but the beauty of having all of these individuals from different nations consolidated inside one C-130J Super Hercules aircraft ready to learn from each other, was not lost on the team.

“My favorite part was seeing everyone be inspired, happy to integrate and learn from each other, '' said Maj. Amanda Peterson, 405th EAES flight nurse. “I met our Danish CRNA [certified registered nurse anesthetist] for the first time the other night and immediately there's that bond there. She said to me ‘I’m just happy to know you, happy to be here and happy to see what you guys do. You were a light in this room today and we got so much from you.’ To build that relationship and learn from each other and know that no matter what, we’re all in this together…that’s huge.”

No matter the nation, no matter the mission, at the end of the day it’s all about getting that service member home.

“We will do anything to get you home,” said Peterson. “The plane might just have you on it and the entire aircraft is being used to get you home and make sure you’re home with your family and able to move on with your life. No matter if you got hurt playing basketball or wounded in battle, we will do everything.”