Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Air Force Unit provides worldwide medical response capability

Image of Two military personnel loading equipment onto an aircraft. Air Force Senior Airman Vanessa Colindres, 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron medical technician (right), helps load a litter of medical gear onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft to prepare for a combat aeromedical evacuation mission at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in August 2020. (Photo by Senior Airman Ashley Perdue, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

On a typical mission with one crew, two flight nurses and three aeromedical technicians, the Airmen assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron have the ability to transform nearly any cargo aircraft into a flying hospital.

“We can basically configure our aircraft to meet our needs,” said Air Force Maj. Christine Cardoza, 379th EAES flight nurse. “We run the entire medical portion of an airborne mission while usually flying a basic five-man crew and, depending on the aircraft, we could have anywhere from one to almost 100 patients at a time ranging from minor injuries to critically ill patients.”

The 379th EAES crews provide time sensitive in-flight patient care, transporting patients from around the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility in Southwest Asia back to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar before they begin their journey back to the U.S. to receive more specialized care.

“It’s amazing how quickly a non-scheduled mission can spin up and we are sent out the door ready to take on however many patients, any type of health issue from medical health and non-battle injuries to battle injuries,” Cardoza added. “Once in the AE system, the patient’s survival rate, I believe, is more than 98%! Being a part of that is an honor in itself.”

While there are specific medical training requirements to be a flight nurse and aeromedical technician, all aerospace medical personnel are also required to go through the Flight Nurse/Aeromedical Technical course, also known as Aeromedical Evacuation Initial Qualification course. During this course, participants start with the academic portion of their jobs and then transition to hands-on training with aircraft simulators.

“As AE crew members, we universally qualify on the C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adam Willemssen, 379th EAES superintendent and First Sergeant.

Willemssen added that his team can also receive short-notice familiarization training for a C-5 Galaxy or KC-10 Extender aircraft and transform them to meet mission requirements within 45 minutes with missions ranging from military operations, to humanitarian aid, to disaster response.

“AE is critical to the Department of Defense and Air Force mission for several reasons,” explained Willemssen. “We as an AE force enabler stand ready to assure commanders and service members that we’ll take care of them and get them home if they are injured or fall ill.  We are also the only branch that does fast, long-range, mass patient movement - a mission that also comes in handy during natural disasters and national emergencies.”

Willemssen stated that part of AE culture is being mindful of the potential for stress and exhaustion. His squadron members have worked together to develop a strong support system in which the crews on standby will help with loading and offloading of the hundreds of pounds of gear onto an aircraft before and after a mission regardless of time or length of the mission.

The fast-paced responses and long mission durations the members of the 379th EAES experience are a piece of a much larger system to ensure total mission success. Despite the rigors of their mission, AE teams, like Cardoza’s and Willemssen’s, understand how critical their efforts are.

“The most rewarding thing about being the superintendent and first sergeant in an AE Squadron is that I get to help people every day, even on days I’m not flying,” said Willemssen. “When I do get to fly the occasional mission, I get to return our sick and injured to their families back home and that is always a righteous mission.”

You also may be interested in...

The New Public Health Director Talks about His Goals for Force Readiness

Article
4/5/2022
Rear Admiral Brandon Taylor of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in dress whites at the 2019 National Independence Day Parade where he represented the U.S. Surgeon General as a presiding official with the other services. Taylor was named in February as the new director of the Defense Health Agency’s Public Health directorate. (Photo: Tanisha Blaise, Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division senior public relations and media specialist)

Rear Adm. Brandon Taylor was recently appointed to be the new director for the Defense Health Agency’s Public Health directorate. In an interview, he discussed how he is approaching his new role, his goals for Public Health within DHA, and the importance of Public Health to a medically ready force and a ready medical force.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Health Readiness | Military Health System Transformation

How COVID-19 Made the Military Medical Community Stronger

Article
3/21/2022
Image of a service member being treated

Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic has made the military medical community stronger and will help when confronting the next crisis, whether that’s another pandemic, a new conflict or natural disaster

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

Top Military Health Leaders Discuss Future Readiness

Article
3/8/2022
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, prepares to transport U.S. Army medical personnel to Guam in support of the global COVID-19 response on April 13, 2020.

Top military health leaders highlight the importance of preparing for the future to ensure both a medically ready force and a ready medical force.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

The Chief of the Army Dental Corps Talks Dental Health & Readiness

Article
2/22/2022
The Army’s top dentist talks about what service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Here’s what the Army’s top dentist thinks service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness | TRICARE Dental Care

Campaign Plan Targets Medical Readiness, Better Health

Article
1/26/2022
(From left) Army Lt. Col. Shimul Patel, chief, Plastic Surgery Services, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jessica Peck, chief, Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, LRMC, operate on a cancer patient during the first microvascular reconstruction and anastomosis procedure ever performed at LRMC, Dec. 3, 2021.

DHA’s five-year plan focused on improving global health care delivery, military readiness.

Recommended Content:

Ready Reliable Care | Health Readiness

The British 'Limeys' Were Right: A Short History of Scurvy

Article
1/10/2022
Scurvy, a disease caused by lack of vitamin C, sickened sailors who had no access to fresh food supplies, and killed more than 2 million sailors between the 16th and 18th centuries alone.

How citrus fruits quelled the scourge of scurvy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Nutritional Fitness | Military Medical History

Meet the First Coast Guard Sponsored USU Medical Student

Article
12/9/2021
US Coast Guard Ensign Bobczynski smiles at camera

U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate Ensign Elyse Bobczynski is the first USCG-sponsored student to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Wounded Warriors and Caregivers Online Resources

Article
11/29/2021
Airmen race for a loose ball during an Air Force Wounded Warrior basketball game

The Defense Department programs listed here are staffed with nearly 800 recovery care coordinators and case managers who are standing by to respond to individual queries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Warrior Care

Mental Stress is like a ‘Check Engine Light’ Flashing–Don’t Ignore It

Article
11/29/2021
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David talks about his  journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program during a video conversation with Defense Health Agency Command Sgt. Major Michael Gragg.

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason David speaks about his own journey of recovery through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Warrior Care | Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Psychological Fitness

Army Recovery Care Coordinator Guides Veterans, Caregivers in Recovery

Article
11/12/2021
Recovery Care Coordinator

A warrior care coordinator shares how she supports recovering service members, their families and caregivers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | IHD COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center for Health Care Personnel | Immunization Healthcare

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Giving Back Helps Veteran Caregiver Connect with Military Caregivers

Article
11/10/2021
Veteran caregiver, Diane Hupko with U.S. Army veteran she cares for smile at camera

Giving back helps veteran caregiver connect with other military caregivers to build a community of support.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Are You Prepared for Flu Season? Let TRICARE Help.

Article
11/1/2021
A hospital corpsman administers an influenza vaccination to an airman as part of a seasonal shot exercise onboard Naval Air Station Sigonella.

Flu season is here once again. Are you prepared? With the COVID-19 Delta variant​ continuing to spread and our health care system overburdened, it’s important for all of us to help combat the spread of flu. And the best way to do so is to get a flu shot.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness

New MHS Podcast Explores Women’s Health in the Military

Article
10/27/2021
Keyeser

The new podcast series, Wise Health for Women Warriors, aims to help servicewomen overcome the specific health care obstacles they encounter.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DOD launches "First Aid For Severe Trauma" for HS students

Article
9/2/2021
High school students at a conference in Orlando, Florida

DOD's National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health launches "First Aid For Severe Trauma" designed for Grades 9-12, with Red Cross, Homeland Security.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 8
Refine your search
Last Updated: October 15, 2020

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.