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104th Fighter Wing Airmen Experience Medevac Training with 3-126th Aviation Medics

Barnes AIr National Guard Base -- Airmen approach the medevac helicopter from the three o' clock position, carrying a patient on a stretcher as the rotors are turning and the engines are hot. The medics stable the patient as the helicopter lifts off over Barnes Air National Guard Base during joint medical augmentee training. Medics from the Massachusetts Air National Guard, 104th Fighter Wing trained with the Massachusetts Army National Guard, Detachment 1 C Company 3-126th Aviation Flight Medics, joining together to increase support for domestic operations.

"The medic augmentee program supports the Army Aviation with 104th Fighter Wing trained medics to allow the Army Aviation to successfully meet domestic operations and annual training requirements, while bolstering the 104th FW with a real world medical mission set," said Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander.

The Air Guard carried out their medical skills on board a HH-60 Medevac. Airmen took to the skies with the Army medics to better understand the challenges on board the aircraft when treating a patient in evacuation care.

"I am very excited to be a part of this operation. As a kid I would watch the aircraft from my home just around the corner and now to be a part of it humbles me," said Airman First Class Alan Guin of the 104th Medical Group. "The integration of both our Army's medical capabilities and the skill set of our Air Force med-techs can prove an immense growth of the Massachusetts National Guard medical opportunities."

The Joint Medical Augmentee Program will help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts National Guard provide an increased domestic operations mission set and training platform for the 104th Medical Group medics.

"This training is exceptionally important to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Maj. James Brown Jr. of the 104th Medical Group. "It increases the capacity of both units and expands the skill set of the Air Force medics without incurring any additional costs to either unit while creating a symbiotic relationship between the 104th medics and the Det 1 C Company 1-126th."

During the first part of the training flight regulations and procedures were discussed.  The course also included familiarization training with the HH-60 Medevac aircraft and the location of equipment before taking off. The instructor covered the locations of the on board aviation medical equipment to include the oxygen, suction, and support for IV fluid overhead. Environmental control, electrical outlets, and lighting, were amongst the important information provided as the students familiarized themselves with the aircraft.

The control panels throughout the aircraft were explained. The medical evacuation interior has a capacity of six litters total. The mechanical lifts have a tilt capability for the medics to adjust accordingly for their patient's comfort.

The students were also shown how the external hoist functions operate and the equipment associated with it such as the jungle penetrator, sked, and rescue basket.

"I think what we are starting is great," said Senior Airman Courtney Greene of the 104th Medical Group. "Air Force medics are able to train more and use EMT skills we don't normally use during a drill weekend. The Army is also going to be provided with additional medics to meet their mission needs. I think it's important to have the Army and Air National Guard work together to support domestic operations."

The unit has had increased taskings to provide MEDEVAC for events such as the Boston Marathon, hurricane Sandy, Fourth of July, and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Training Events (MEMA).

Detachment 1 C Company 3-126th Aviation is based out of the Army Aviation Support Facility 2 (AASF2) on Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts. The unit is the only helicopter air ambulance medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) unit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It currently is assigned HH-60M Black hawk helicopters for the purpose of MEDEVAC domestic operations and combat missions.

The mission of the C Company 3-126th is to provide aeromedical evacuation of the injured and wounded while administering in route patient care by trained medical personnel. Their capabilities include patient transfer, Bambi bucket aerial firefighting, search and rescue, medical resupply, and air movement of passengers.

"I enjoyed the opportunity to train and learn new skills with the Army National Guard Aviation," said Senior Airman Justin Gilbert. "It is always good to have as much knowledge and training in ones career field and this is a great opportunity to open the doors to new skills and abilities. The Army Guard was very accommodating and eager to teach."