Prepared for the unexpected

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alan Ricker
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

The 15th Medical Group’s education and training flight ensures that over 300 of the group’s personnel are vigilant and ready to provide medical care at a moment's notice.

“It’s said that when times are unpredictable, whether that be environment, stress, and/or anxiety — you rely on your training to perform,” said Staff Sgt. Priscilla Klee, 15th MDG education and training noncommissioned officer in charge.

Lt. Col. Michael Rabener, 15th Healthcare Operations Squadron commander, recalled a moment he successfully implemented two years worth of training during an emergency medical situation that involved an influx of mass casualty patients who arrived at Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in 2019.

Rabener remembered one soldier in particular who, he said, experienced the most trauma he’s ever seen and that the soldier was provided with over 70 liters of blood from over 100 soldiers, the most in the history of Air Force medicine.

“Our teams, we just rehearsed every day,” said Rabener, explaining how they trained their muscle memory for trauma combat casualty care. “We went through simulations every day of the things we could expect, so when it kicked off, everybody was pretty ready.”

After stabilization, the soldier was transferred to a C-17 Globemaster III that harbored 18 medical specialists who cared for the patient during a non-stop 8,000-mile flight to deliver the soldier to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he successfully recovered.

“This is why we’ve come in the military — to do this kind of mission and bring people home,” said Rabener.

The 15th MDG implements the same readiness mentality by dedicating a full day every month for all of its members to participate in training.

“At the 15th MDG we take this seriously across all curriculums and programs,” said Klee. “Future wars and conflicts are not going to look like what we have seen previously. With that, we cannot predict exactly what that might entail. We can, however, predict how we will perform by sharpening our skills and being confident with the care that we provide to our patients.”

For example, Medic-X training, which Klee explained is the Air Force Surgeon General’s initiative to meet the call for Multiple Capable Airman, involves over 50 foundational patient-care skills that can ensure the medical force, including those not involved in daily patient care, is prepared for the next conflict.

“When patients or people call on us for assistance, it is usually not their best day, we need to be prepared to meet any demand,” said Klee.