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    'Warrior Medics' conduct Black Hawk medevac litter training, familiarization flights over Tampa Bay

    'Warrior Medics' conduct Black Hawk medevac litter training, familiarization flights over Tampa Bay

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Neil W. McCabe | Army Reserve critical care flight paramedic Sgt. Logan Shepherd, Golf Company, 5th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Neil W. McCabe 

    Army Reserve Medical Command

    [MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.] Thirty-eight “Warrior Medics” assigned to the Army Reserve Medical Command’s Pinellas Park, Fla., headquarters and headquarters detachment, conducted litter training with a UH-60 Black Hawk military ambulance Saturday with Army Reserve crew chiefs from Golf Company, 5th General Support Aviation Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment here, followed by Black Hawk familiarization flights over Tampa Bay.

    “The first time I was in a Black Hawk, I was with the 82nd Airborne. I flew up, and I jumped out," said 1st Sgt. Health T. Blumberg, the top NCO at AR-MEDCOM’s Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

    “The most important thing was not just being in the aircraft, but was the training that we had, and doing the litter loads, and seeing how we enter and exit the aircraft,” Blumberg said.

    “It was very beneficial to us, especially as we are a medical unit,” he said. “Having that litter training, and then being up to be taken up in the aircraft and fly around Tampa—it was exhilarating.”

    The first sergeant, who enlisted in the Army at 33, said the training was important for his Soldiers, who are assigned to a two-star headquarters and do not practice their 10-Level, or common Soldier, tasks.

    “Having these training events help AR-MEDCOM and our Soldiers,” the North Port, N.Y., native said.

    "Those 10-level skills get lost in the day-to-day Lieumonotony of our jobs,” he said. "To go back to those 10-level jobs is very important; it is our foundation—you can't have a strong building or a house without a strong foundation."

    Major Erin P. Venturelli, the secretary of the general staff, said that before she became a health services human resources officer, or 70 Foxtrot, she was a combat medic, so having the litter training for the Soldiers was very important to her.

    “As a combat medic, seeing people getting the litter training, to see it again and the fact that people who normally don't do it are getting an opportunity to do it,” said Venturelli.

    “It was awesome,” the Milwaukee, Wisconsin native said.

    “It brought back a lot of good memories, and it just kind of drives in the reason why we all need to know your basic first aid and your basic litter-carrying skills so that we can always save lives no matter where we end up,” said the major who was motivated by the Sept. 11 attacks when she finished college and enlisted in 2003.

    Venturelli said the familiarization flights were a surprise.

    “I thought we were just coming in to do medevac training, load litters, and unload hot and not hot with the rotors running,” she said. “Then, we ended up flying all around Tampa Bay and got some good views and good turns.”

    One of the instructors for the training was critical care flight paramedic Sgt. Logan Shepherd, who briefed the Soldiers at the flight line on how to safely approach and walk away from the Black Hawks and told them what to expect.

    “The focus this morning will be medevac,” he said. “What medevac does, where medevac does, how medevac operates, and what it looks like for us in the back.”

    The sergeant, a 68 Whiskey with the F2 designation, said the training was essential because everyone has to pitch in for their battle buddies in a mass casualty event. "Everyone is a litter bearer."

    Another part of the training involved moving in and out of the aircraft while receiving instruction from the crewmembers.

    He said one of the unique things about these ambulance Black Hawks is their red crosses.

    "We are a medical evacuation platform," he said. "We are not a casualty evacuation platform; we have been designated by Congress and thus by the Army to perform that mission."

    Singleton said the ambulance mission often involves insertion. “We have been told we are going ‘to do the thing,’ whether that is a point of entry or whether that be some kind of critical care in route—we will either land at a hot LZ that has gone cold, or we will land at a hospital, and take patients where they need to go following the continuum of care." LZ is Army shorthand for a landing zone.

    During the medevac, the sergeant said that as a flight critical care paramedic, he could be called upon to deliver chest compressions for a patient, becoming their heart. "All in a tight, confined space going 100 knots or 140 knots, all with all the equipment that an ER would have.”
    Casualty evacuation is different from medical evacuation when it is done in a non-medically designated aircraft, he said.

    Another one of the instructors, Sgt. Nicholas Paul, a Golf Company crew chief and UH-60 mechanic, of 15 Tango, said he joined the Army in 2011 because he came from a military family and his brother was a flight surgeon here, who told him about the medevac mission.

    Paul said his brother’s words had a significant effect on him.

    Sergeant 1st Class Sonja Kahkonen, a senior human resources specialist, said she was surprised by how hands-on the crew chiefs were in their instruction.

    The Washington, Pennsylvania, native said that she took pictures she shared with her family during the flight.
    The highlight of the training was the flight around Tampa, tilting over the water with the Black Hawk’s doors open, she said.

    It was a very smooth ride with beautiful views and weather, she said.
    Captain Rhianna Guerin, assigned to AR-MEDCOM's comptroller section, or G-8, said that when she approached the air ambulance litter training, her goal was to push herself outside her comfort zone.

    The captain also said that although she had previously worked in Army aviation, this was her first time being up close to the Black Hawk.
    Blumberg said he was impressed by the high morale and motivation at the training.

    "The morale was outstanding—to come out of our element, which we usually train—except for during annual training—at Pinellas Park at the reserve center—to get out and do some hands-on training, it boosts morale tremendously," the first sergeant said.

    “Soldiers coming off with smiles on their faces as they get off the aircraft, so I think having these morale-boosting training events—getting back to the 10-Level is beneficial to the Soldiers and their morale."



    Date Taken: 05.21.2024
    Date Posted: 05.23.2024 13:38
    Story ID: 471883

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