(UNDISCLOSED LOCATION) 09.21.2020 –
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait: The 3rd Medical Command and Task Force Spartan recently conducted air medical evacuation training in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure in the event their services were required, they would be ready and able to respond.
Planning and coordinating an exercise like this is no easy task. It requires multiple layers of coordination and a lot of moving parts.
“There are a lot of people involved in getting a MedEvac in here,” said Maj. Richard Scheuerman, an aviation officer with Task Force Spartan. “You have to coordinate with the host nation as well as the division and ARCENT commander.”
When conducting a training exercise that involves air medical evacuations, one of the most significant issues is making sure you have clear air space to use the aircraft.
“It took a lot of planning and time to be able to do this training,” said Scheuerman. “We have had to do MedEvacs frequently here but never out of Eskan Village specifically where this training took place.”
This type of training is essential as it’s not always war-related injuries requiring Soldiers to be MedEvac’d.
“We have had to conduct many MedEvacs recently due to COVID,” said Scheuerman. “The major difference with this training was just the location. We haven’t had to conduct a MedEvac in that area yet and wanted to make sure we could do it safely.”
The Army often trains in new environments to see what difficulties there may be for Soldiers that have to work in those areas in the future.
“The purpose of this training was to see what landing a MedEvac in Eskan Village required and what it would look like,” said 3rd Medical Command Forward Movement Regulating Officer, 1st Lt. Jacqueline Corcoran.
Medical evacuations involve many moving parts. It’s not just a question of the aircraft, but also personnel.
“You have to figure out where the crew chiefs are going to go, who on the ground is going to meet them, and what do to do with the patient while you wait for the MedEvac to show,” said Scheuerman. “We wanted to make sure that doing a MedEvac in this area would be safe and possible to execute.”
With COVID-19, there has been a hike in MedEvacs needed in the area of operation; training like this helps to keep Soldiers sharp to conduct their mission safely.
“COVID has really pushed us to be able to conduct MedEvacs in places we didn’t think of before,” said Scheuerman. “We have tripled or quadrupled the number of MedEvacs we have had to do, the previous unit had to do 3-4 and we have done about 15-20.”
Soldiers hope never to find themselves in need of MedEvac, but if one is needed, it’s good to know that well-trained Soldiers will be there, thanks to training events like this.
“This training was just part of our crawl phase, and everyone was able to take away something from this training,” said Corcoran.
“This training was a one time go, we nailed it and hopefully will never have to use it,” said Scheuerman.