Knoxville military members train for mass casualties

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melissa Dearstone
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing

Airmen from the 134th Medical Group along with Task Force MEDEVAC Soldiers participated in a mass casualty exercise here Nov. 6.

The 134th ARW Airmen have been training for the past few months to enact the new Air Force MEDIC-X initiative.

According to the Air Force Medical Service, MEDIC-X is the Air Force Surgeon General’s initiative to ensure all medical personnel are equipped with the life-sustaining skills needed for a challenging and dynamic future battlefield where resources may be limited.

Col. Lisa Simmons, 134 MDG commander, said her unit has been building up to this exercise since August.

“We tried to make the training as realistic as possible by having a holistic exercise from start to finish,” said Simmons. “We started from when tensions might arise, to when our members would deploy and actually have to provide medical treatment in a deployed location. This gave the Airmen the opportunity to see the whole picture rather than piecing it together.”

MEDIC-X is the Air Force Medical Service’s response to the demand for multi-capable Airmen, aligning with the Air Force Chief of Staff’s operational doctrine which requires equipping Airmen with skills that go beyond their duty title.

“In today’s world we are trying to develop multi-capable Airmen, and MEDIC-X is a huge part of our training going forward,” said Simmons. “This joint force training opportunity provides our Airmen the opportunity to come out and do hands-on training with our Army counterparts to better provide our folks with the ability to to be better prepared to go down range.”

This purpose of exercise is to deliver base-level patient care. It includes skills such as assessing pain levels, taking vital signs, infection control, respiratory care, and patient movement.

The Airmen and Soldiers are not just learning about basic skills but also about how to work with each other.

“It is very much a joint environment when we deploy,” said Simmons. “To be able to do this kind of exercise with other military counterparts at our home station builds on the ability and relationships early on. We have a better understanding of each other's mission sets, how we can come together, and ultimately making sure our patients are being taken care of.”

Staff Sgt. Hayden Mcalister, 134 MDG medical technician, said one of his most important takeaways from exercises is team building.
“Being able to flow effectively as a team and to learn how to do things correctly is very important, so when something does happen we can be as effective as possible.”

Simmons praised the talents of 134th ARW medical personnel.

“We are very lucky to have the ability to recruit and retain highly trained professional military members and professional medical specialties.”
Mcalister said this training is valuable and rewarding.

“You have a purpose with your mission and this teaches us how we can help as many people as possible.”

The MEDIC-X curriculum and training aligns with the Surgeon General’s strategic initiative to develop a standardized medical force with broad skills common to all medical specialties as necessary to enhance and improve patient care outcomes in contested environments.