News: Training for the flight
Story by Spc. Melissa Parrish
POPE ARMY AIRFIELD, N.C. – Flight technicians and flight nurses from around the globe come to the Aeromedical Evacuation Formal Training Unit at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., to receive hands-on training for medical evacuations. The school house has been open for two years and has already trained many medical technicians and flight nurses to be efficient in their fields and get a taste of what their jobs will entail in a real-world scenario.
Master Sgt. Gary Taiclet, an instructor at the AEFTU, has been working at the school since it opened and helps give the students the opportunity to enhance their skills.
"The students come to the AEFTU and we get to teach them about all of the different types of aircrafts they may encounter,” said Taiclet. “We also teach them how to configure [put together] the inside of the aircraft and we give them patient scenarios they will possibly see while deployed."
Although this training is not mandatory for the flight technicians and flight nurses, it is a pass or fail course and is highly encouraged.
"The students go through open and closed book testing and they also test on the ground and in the air," said Taiclet. "When these Airman deploy they will take all of the equipment with them and turn the aircraft into a flying Intensive Care Unit [ICU], and that is what we are training them to do."
Many of the students come to the school from different reserve bases because their base doesn't offer the real-time training on the many various types of aircrafts these airmen will encounter.
"I came from my base in Minneapolis for this school because we don't have the diverse amount of aircraft training they offer here at the AEFTU," said Deanna Jensen, a flight nurse with the 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Air Reserve Base Minneapolis and a civilian emergency room nurse in Minneapolis.
"We learn how to set up the aircraft for the transportation of patients, and we learn the electrical aspect of the different types of aircraft,” said Jensen. “Every plane has a different configuration and we need to know how to set up each one."
Near the end of the course the students put their training to use and perform a simulated mass casualty mission where they get on an aircraft and are evaluated on their time management, performance and knowledge of patient and aircraft emergencies.
"I've learned so much here and received great training that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to take advantage of at my home base." added Jensen. "I'm just really glad I got the opportunity to come to the AEFTU."
The school is 27 days long and gives many airmen the training they will need when they deploy to forward operating locations providing medical care to wounded soldiers. The school is on track to becoming a mandatory training stop for the Aeromedical career field.