106th Medical Group receives hands-on training in Alaska > National Guard > Guard News

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, ALASKA – Thirty-four New York Air National Guard Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing Medical Group trained in Alaska alongside their Active Air Force counterparts from 1st through May 15.

The Airmen traveled from FS Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, to train with the 673rd Medical Group.

This was the 106th Medical Group’s military installations’ first annual training since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The medical airmen honed their skills with hands-on work during the two-week training, said Lt. Col. Shanjay Shetty, 106th Medical Group flight surgeon and joint training commander.

Bioenvironmental engineering specialists from the 106th Medical Group, who reduce health risks in work environments, conducted shop tours and shared best practices with their counterparts from the 673rd Medical Group.

Airmen from the 106th Medical Group’s dental team completed their administrative duties for the 106th and trained at the 673rd’s dental clinic.

The 106th’s flight surgeons trained with their Alaskan peers in water survival and post-capture handling. They also experimented with aerial refueling.

Combat medics rotated to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richarson hospital. They also trained with advanced medical simulation dummies in a simulated field hospital and combat setting.

“Coming here has been a very productive and very rewarding experience, both personally and professionally,” Shetty said. “The 673rd Medical Group has been very helpful to us in terms of patient care experiences and simulation sessions.”

The 673rd Medical Group is one of the few units with advanced medical simulation dummies, Shetty said.

106th Medical Group commander Lt. Col. Stephen Rush wants all medics to train with these advanced training aids, said 106th Medical Group readiness officer Maj. Mark Wilborn.

“When someone sees ‘MED’ on an Airman’s shoulder, they’re going to expect them to be able to help,” Wilborn said. “Col. Rush wants everyone who wears this patch to have the ability to be an operational field medic.

Combat medics had to assess a patient’s injuries, mitigate risk to the patient, stop bleeding, treat secondary injuries, resuscitate the patient, and maintain airway.

Essentially, they were expected to take a badly injured “person” from near-death to the barn and ready to be transported, Shetty explained.

“Training on simulation dummies gives us the opportunity to refresh our skills and maintain skills that we may not encounter frequently,” said Airman 1st Class David Mangiameli, one of the medics. “It’s only until pieces of plastic in the training labs become patients in the trauma bays that you can fully appreciate the benefits of being here,” he added.

The 106th Rescue Wing operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th RQW houses a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers and deploys for domestic and overseas operations.

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