Patriot Delta: We train like we fight
By Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelps, 349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 05, 2017
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The medical manikins were gently laid out on the ground on litters, wrapped in blankets and bandages to protect their injuries. Airmen shifted restlessly, inspecting bandages and triple-checking charts to ensure they were correct. The ambulance bus was backed up, the door open, awaiting a simple phone call.
Finally, the phone rang. Like a perfectly primed engine, the Airmen from the 60th Inpatient Squadron kicked into gear. The patients were efficiently loaded onto the bus and taken to the flightline at Travis Air Force Base, California, where a C-130 Hercules from Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, sat with running engines, ready to take the injured to their simulated final destination.
This was one of more than 700 events played out during Patriot Delta, an Air Force Reserve Command centered exercise designed for aeromedical evacuation squadrons to train with those who are in the same deployment bucket. The key participants were from the 911th Airlift Wing at Pittsburgh ARS, the 908th AW at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott AFB, Illinois; and the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB.
“Since all of our units are scheduled for deployment around the same time, Patriot Delta provided the opportunity for us to meet people we would work with and train on airframes we don’t have at our home stations,” said Maj. Kelly Rose, 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron operations flight commander and planner for Patriot Delta.
Though most of those participating in Patriot Delta were Reservists, there was a team of 10 active-duty Airmen from the 60th IPTS that performed enroute patient care in the exercise as well.
Enroute patient care consists of receiving a patient from a flight, taking them to a hospital via AMBUS, coordinating a departure flight to the final destination, ensuring accuracy of the patient’s paperwork, and keeping the patient as healthy as possible, until they deliver the patient on the departing flight.
The Airmen also staged all of the “patients” in Patriot Delta with a variety of injuries for the medical personnel to properly care for.
“We wanted to utilize all of our resources for this exercise,” Rose said. “Not all bases have ERPSF (enroute patient staging facilities), and they are at deployed locations. Since we have them here at Travis, and have a great relationship with them; we reached out to them.”
The partnership for this exercise was mutually beneficial for the Reservists and the Active Duty, said Maj. David Whitehorn, 60th IPTS commander.
“We have a lot of new folks in our squadron,” Whitehorn said. “Patriot Delta provided an excellent training opportunity for them.”
The 60th IPTS is often very busy with real-world enroute patient care, so new Airmen often don’t have time to receive real training in a safe space where they can make mistakes, learn and ask questions, he added.
“Their ERPSF is always on call, so they don’t always have training time,” Rose said.
The partnership between the Reservists and the Active Duty was important to this exercise.
“This is real world,” Whitehorn said. “When deployed, we do this together. There is no difference between Active Duty and Reserves.”
Increased collaboration was a key component to this exercise, Rose said. These are the people who will work together downrange.
Once the patients were delivered onto the C-130, the Airmen jumped back onto the AMBUS, skirting around the flightline to a KC-135 Stratotanker where they received more patients and delivered them to the hospital.