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    127th Wing Medical Group Exercises CCATT and ERPSS at Northern Strike 23

    Joint medical training event

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Andrew Schumann | U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Sharmaine Hicks, an aerospace medical technician from the...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Schumann 

    127th Wing Public Affairs

    GRAYLING, Michigan - Citizen Airmen from the 127th Wing took part in advanced medical training to gain hands-on experience with patient staging and aerial transport while participating in exercise Northern Strike 23.

    Michigan Air National Guardsmen from the 127th Medical Group conducted joint medical training at the Grayling Army Airfield in northern Michigan with soldiers from the Illinois National Guard and Nebraska National Guard. During the exercise, the Army and Air Force medics practiced the En Route Patient Staging System and Critical Care Air Transport Team, a joint maneuver which combines patient care, ground transport, and aerial evacuation in order to expedite treatment for critically injured patients.

    “Our members are very dedicated. We have been doing this training for several years now, and we have gotten better and better,” said Lt. Col. James Howell, 127th Medical Operations Squadron commander.

    What started as an expeditionary medical package, comprised of Airmen providing medical care in the deployed and forward-operating environments, has evolved into En Route Patient Staging and Critical Care Aerial Transport Teams.

    “This exercise has allowed us to see where we could improve, but overall has allowed us to see where we will shine in order to accomplish the mission and ultimately save lives,” Howell said of the medical operations at Northern Strike 23.

    ERPSS is used for the temporary staging of patients between a field hospital and medivac transport to an advanced care facility. In addition to staging, patients receive casualty care while awaiting transport. Administrative actions then allow for patients to be checked-in and transported after an evaluation of the seriousness of their conditions.

    Once a patient is moved from the ERPSS staging facility, they are prepped for critical care aerial transport. The CCATT provides advanced en route medical care and capabilities to critically ill, injured or burned patients during their evacuation. The CCATT is equipped and trained to provide the needed medical care during patient transport to an advanced care facility.

    The 127th Medical Group operated the ERPSS and CCATT portions of the exercise while Army medics from the 33rd Infantry Brigade, Illinois National Guard, operated a field clinic and transferred patients over ground to ERPSS. Aircrews and HH60 Blackhawk helicopters from the Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, Nebraska National Guard, operated rotary medivac, and the fixed wing medical evacuation was provided by the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard.

    Patient staging expedites the ability to transport the critically injured in a timely manner. After receiving initial treatment in the field, or at an expeditionary field hospital, the patient is transported to staging, where doctors will determine whether their condition is urgent, priority, routine, or low priority. Prior to being transported, a number is issued to the patient based on their condition, with urgent and priority cases being expedited.

    “Our CCATT works in partnership with the ERPSS and can take up to two critical care patients at a time for transport, to safely get them to a higher level of care,” said Maj. Patrick Frank, 127th Medical Group medical administrative officer.

    Both the ERPSS and CCATT functions work together to receive patients and document their level of care needed. Once the level of care is established, CCATT members continue with medical treatment before and during aerial transport.

    The concept of the joint ERPSS and CCATT mission began in 2016, when the Army and Air Force held discussions on the possibility of a joint medical evacuation process. The first exercise was held the next year, with the successful transfer of one patient. From there, the concept grew into the mechanized process that it is now, saving lives by providing the most advanced medical care as quickly as possible.

    “The best aspect of this whole exercise is the joint endeavor, working with the Army and Air Force, as well as the Marine Corps, who joined our training this year to help with the patient movement aspect of the training,” Frank added, “The joint effort is key to survivability.”

    Northern Strike is the Michigan National Guard’s premier reserve component training event that integrates readiness training building interoperability. More than 7,000 troops from all over the world participated in this year’s event.



    Date Taken: 08.23.2023
    Date Posted: 08.23.2023 17:20
    Story ID: 451997
    Location: GRAYLING, MI, US

    Web Views: 174
    Downloads: 1