MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, WA. — More than 30 Reservists from both the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation and Aeromedical Staging Squadrons will be part of the nearly 200 McChord Air Force Reserve Airmen who will deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom this month ‚Äì the largest single deployment of Reservists from McChord AFB since Operation Desert Shield.
The two medical squadrons will take the helm of patient care and movement in the war zone. The ASTS will be on the ground operating the largest hospital facility in Balad, Iraq, while the AES will be taking care of patients in the aircraft from the combat zone to medical care in Europe or the United States.
The ASTS will manage the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, the largest hospital facility in Iraq ‚Äì this will be the unit‚Äôs second time managing the CASF. While deployed in 2007, Reservists took care of about 500 patients per month and processed more than 2,000 total patient movements.
After the ASTS stabilizes the patient, they hand them off to the AES to be aeromedically evacuated. The AES deployed teams of medics to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany in August and will continue through April 2009.
AES Reservists set up litter carriers, pre-position medical supplies and run through various checklists on any Air Force cargo aircraft. In a matter of minutes, a C-17‚Äôs cargo bay is transforming to a fully-functioning, in-flight hospital. While aboard, Reserve medics can handle any patients concerns. They can treat a heart attack or perform surgical procedures if needed.
In the last year alone, more than 9,000 patients were aeromedically evacuated from Iraq to Germany and more than 5,000 were moved from Germany to the United States.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 1,900 Airmen from the 446th Airlift Wing have deployed in support of OIF/OEF missions. The average deployment lasts four months.