We are The 908th: The 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron

  • Published
  • By Bradley J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Editor’s note: “We are The 908th” is a 16 part series, running biweekly, detailing the workings of the various units in the 908th Airlift Wing. This is part 15, giving insight on the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.

The 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron is the unit tasked with ensuring oversight of individual health and medical readiness while providing medical support for the entire 908th Airlift Wing.

This squadron is unique to the rest of the wing as it has no group that it reports to, rather it is what is known as a direct reporting unit, falling directly under the command of the 908th Airlift Wing.

The squadron also differs from most as it has multiple missions that vary some between peacetime and wartime.

In peacetime, the 908th ASTS members are trained in order to provide a high level of mission medical readiness ensuring wartime/combat capability, while providing medical support to the wing for pre/post deployment processing and annual physical exams.

In wartime, the 908th ASTS members fall into two potential categories, they can function as a contingency aeromedical staging facility, or as an aerospace medicine unit.

According to their commander, Col. Stephen Secraw, when the members are performing as a contingency aeromedical staging facility they, “provide manpower to support the Enroute Patient Staging System. They also administratively prepare patients for flight, ensure patients are clinically supported while in the EPRSS awaiting transportation and assists with transportation of ERPSS patients to and from modes of transportation. They also provide manpower to accomplish the periodic health assessment and deployment screening process for the Air Force Reserve Command’s wing population to ensure wings medical requirements are met.”

When they are performing as an aerospace medicine unit they, “generate in-place medical care and physical exam support of a parent wing,” explained Secraw. “They also provide personnel augmentation to a fixed medical treatment facility in support of a base population stateside or forward deployed.”

The unit has one strong priority, patient care.

“Our primary function is to man a contingency aeromedical staging facility,” stated Secraw. “These facilities are located at major hubs near medical facilities and support the movement of patients from the area of responsibility to home. We are large enough that we can man up to a 250 bed facility, or we could also be a 10 bed facility in an austere environment with minimal supplies, and house patients for up to 24 hours or longer if needed. We load and unload patients from aircraft and make sure that not only they receive the best medical care but also ensure that they have belongings, medicine and food for their travels across the world.”

Secraw goes on to mention that, “those functions are key to the nation’s ability to safely bring our wounded warriors home from the AOR. But, we are only one component that makes up this vital air-bridge from war to home. We work very closely with our sister medical unit, the aeromedical evacuation squadron—which provides the continued medical care in the air and travels with the patients in the aircraft. Basically, ASTS provides the linkage between the ground and the air to support patient transport.”

To accomplish the priorities and missions it is designed for, the unit takes it’s more than 140 members, eight of which are fulltime, and has them all work in medical section known as a base operational medical clinic.

“The BOMC is a way of delivering operational and occupational medicine to Airmen while continuing to deliver regular medical care through assigned primary care managers in the manner everyone is accustomed to,” explained Secraw. “The BOMC basically incorporates both the flying exams and non-fly packages under one umbrella for all wing members.”

That’s all for the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron. Check back in a couple of weeks to see what unit will be featured in the final “We are The 908th.”  

Located at Maxwell Air Force Base and operating a fleet of 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.