AF Reserve medics 'deploy' to Japan

Nine reservists from the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron were deployed to Kadena Air Base to assist the 18th Medical Group's En Route Patient Staging System mission. The training mission specifically calls upon the McChord Reservists unique expertise in the arena of ERPSS. After 13 days helping train active duty medical forces, the reservists will return at the end of August.

"The 18th MDG has had this requirement but has not exercised it in approximately 10 years," said Capt. Paul Hall, 446th ASTS executive officer. "Since the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron's sole mission is ERPSS and we constantly train for that mission, we're considered the premier ASTS in the Air Force Reserve Command."

Over the course of the two weeks, the medics will impart their skills to help plan and assist with every phase of the training mission.

"The first week is classroom training followed by the second week of a field-training exercise," said Hall. "This simulates a deployment of an ERPSS-50, which consists of 48 personnel who will set up several Alaskan Shelters capable of staging up to 50 patients for as long as 72 hours. The equipment package involved 17 full pallets of equipment including tents, generators, HVACs and medical equipment."

Having a specific tasking to support an active duty training requirement is an exceptional capability for the 446th Reserve medics to perform.

"This is a unique situation because active duty is calling upon reservists to help them train,"  said Hall. "To the 18th MDG, ERPSS is an auxiliary mission because they are primarily responsible for maintaining the Kadena Clinic.  Traditionally, approximately 85 percent of the aeromedical evacuation mission falls on the Reservists, where only 15 percent is active duty."

Being selected to participate in Kadena's mission was a collective point of pride for the squadron.

"The 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron was referred by [Air Education & Training Command] to the [18th Medical Group] because we had accomplished our Mobile Aeromedical Evacuation Patient Staging Course during Rainier Medic 2014.  In the past nine years the 446th ASTS is the only unit to successfully request, plan, and execute a Mobile AEPSC."

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