Patient Care at forefront as 908th ASTS Participates in Wing-Wide Exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg
  • 908th Airlift Wing

The 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron took part in a simulated casualty care exercise here in late March.

The exercise took place as part of the larger exercise Auburn Tide, a wing wide demonstration of pre-deployment readiness.

The role of the ASTS is to establish and operate aeromedical staging facilities and develop critical care air transport teams. During this exercise, ASTS assessed, treated and transported “casualties” with various medical emergencies ranging from physical trauma to mental health crises.

The ASTS Airmen were tasked with the treatment of 16 human patients and one military working dog. Patients were treated in a temporary field hospital before being transported to a hospital to receive the next level of medical care.

“The purpose of the Aeromedical Staging Squadron is to get their patients prepared for their next level of care and to get them ready for their transient flight,” said Maj. Myte Dahl, the senior medical administrator for the 908th ASTS. “Whether it be through C-130 or whatever means to get them to their next level of care, all of our medical technicians and nursing personnel are all caring for those patients to get them onto those expedited flights.”

The process of transporting patients requires the cooperation of several different units. The ASTS must coordinate patient care with the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, communicating the specific needs of each patient. The AES in turn will continue treatment during transport while working with air crews to safely and effectively transport patients.

The members of the ASTS faced challenges throughout this exercise which replicated situations they could encounter in a deployed environment. Ranging from trauma sustained by explosives to psychiatric episodes, all patients require unique treatment that ASTS Airmen must be equipped to handle. Even a Security Forces canine counterpart received the same level of care afforded to human patients.

“This exercise provided various types of patients in different scopes of injury phases,” said Dahl. “It is imperative that our members comprehend the complexity of patient care and treatment throughout the staging system and that they can execute the ASTS mission during wartime.”

The casualty care exercise conducted by the ASTS demonstrated its ability to act effectively under pressure and work cohesively with its counterparts. The week-long exercise, Auburn Tide, concluded with the goal of wing-wide readiness as the 908th prepares for its largest deployment to date.

Located at Maxwell Air Force Base and operating a fleet of nine C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft, the 908th is Alabama’s only Air Force Reserve wing. The wing has approximately 1,200 Reserve Citizen Airmen, serving in more than 20 career fields, with Air Reserve Technicians, civilian employees and Reservists on active duty tours conducting day-to-day operations. Over the spring and summer of 2021, the 908th will engage in the largest deployment in wing history - sending more than 300 Airmen to locations around the globe.