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Airmen, Soldiers exercise aeromedical evacuations

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- An Airmen screams out in pain due to a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Grass flies through the air as the HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approaches its landing zone. The injured Airman is securely strapped to a litter by a medical technician and rushed to the helicopter for rapid transport.  


The 6th Medical Group’s En Route Patient Staging System teams held a two-day training exercise here March 11 to 12. With the help of the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Army unit 'G' Company 5-159th Medevac, from Clearwater, Florida, medical personnel trained on proper litter carries, transporting patients in multiple aircraft and helicopters, as well as patient care before and during transportation.


“A large part of having a ready force comes from hands-on training, as it is invaluable to make mistakes in a training environment rather than making them in the real world,” said Staff Sgt. Luke Cyphers, 6th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician. 


MacDill has two 13-man medical ERPSS-10 teams with an additional two-man communications team, for a total of a 15-member team. They also have two ERPSS-P, provider augmentation package.


“ERPSS-10 is the basic package and can support up to 40 patients per day for up to 72 hours at a time,” said Maj. Michael Edging, 6th MDOS nurse. “The provider augmentation package is used if operations extend beyond 72 hours, in which more support may be required.”


The exercise used compiled knowledge and hands-on training of site acquirement, setup, patient movement, care and staging. Participants learned to effectively utilize manpower, care space and communication. The ERPSS-10 teams are required to be able to land, setup and be ready for patients within two hours.


“As a role-two staging facility, our ERPSS team secures and stabilizes any first-responder care done in the field, while simultaneously preparing them for travel to a more advanced, role-three, form of care,” said Cyphers.


Since October 2015, the 6th MDG has completed similar exercises, and sent their teams to external exercises to keep members trained and allow new members to gain experience.


“I have participated in this exercise before, along with many different training operations, and there has never been an exercise I have not learned or received great experience from,” said Cyphers. “This exercise especially gave me, and others, experiences that will translate into valuable assets in the field.”