MDG plays “M.A.S.H”
By Airman 1st Class Jessica Lockoski, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 24, 2007
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- On Friday, Airmen usually look forward to the end of the work day because, for most, it signifies the beginning of a weekend.
However, at 4:30 p.m. May 18, while most of the base was heading home, several members of the 22nd Medical Group were actively involved in a Medical Unit Readiness Training exercise.
The training combined skills required for deployments and medical readiness as well as an overview of emergency scenarios.
"We typically use our training day to do disaster team training, which is specific to disasters here at McConnell," said Tech. Sgt. Vanderpool, 22nd Medical Group medical readiness instructor.
"This training allows us to give an overview for training in a deployed location," she said.
The MURT is conducted twice a year around May and October to make sure everyone in the 22nd MDG has an opportunity to attend and to fulfill training requirements. Though medics are considered non-combatants, they train to operate in a combat contingency environment.
Some topics covered in class training include overviews and refreshers in Self-Aid Buddy Care, combat stress control, review of nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional defense operations, and disease prevention.
During the field training portion, the 22nd MDG covered task qualification training, hands-on Self-Aid Buddy Care, litter carries, patient victim/movement, and ambulance loading in a mass casualty environment.
"These medics need to know this training forward, backward, in their sleep - it's not just knowing how to do their everyday day job in their Air Force Specialty Code, Airmen must be open to all areas of knowledge," said Sergeant Vanderpool.
The group also conducted rapid triage drills in teams while suited in full Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear so they could learn to communicate with their patients and with each other in a chemical environment. The principals of triage require the medics to determine how to sort injured people into groups based on their need for immediate treatment. In the battle field it is necessary to use this knowledge to maximize the number of lives saved.
"With any team you have to be able to count on the person next to you to do the job that is expected of them in any situation. With a team in a medical emergency; that means saving lives," said Sergeant Vanderpool.
The "injured" were decorated with moulage, a technique used by applying makeup and latex "wounds."
"Moulage adds a sense of realism," said Sergeant Vanderpool. "The medics are not just looking at a piece of paper with symptoms; they are seeing what the injury would actually look like - it decreases response time."
Following triage, individuals had the opportunity to practice bandage and splinting techniques.
Before their work day was over, the participants assembled an Alaskan shelter (portable easily mobilized structures). The group practiced putting it up, because it serves as a primary shelter for an Expeditionary Medical Support also known as a deployed hospital.
"Everyone gets hands-on training and knows the basics of how the pieces fit together, also they get to do it in a safe environment under much less stress than being fired at," said Sergeant Vanderpool.
A total of 83 individuals participated in the training, including Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin Hudson, Chaplain (Maj.) Boyd Short, 22nd Air Refueling Wing chaplains, and Senior Master Sgt. Mitchell Eck, 22nd Medical Group first sergeant.
"The training conducted by the Medical Readiness Flight at McConnell is the best training I have seen in my 24 year career," said Col. Kerry Dexter, 22nd Medical Group commander, summing up the days events. "It was comprehensive, well structured and they had fun."