JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Reserve Citizen Airmen in the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland trained for the first time aboard a KC-46A Pegasus March 8-10, learning and practicing their aeromedical skills on the new aircraft.
The training mission was a collaboration with the 931st Air Refueling Wing, aeromedical evacuation personnel and KC-46A technical specialists from other locations, and the Alamo Wing, where more than 20 medical personnel conducted training in a variety of emergency scenarios on the ground and in flight.
According to Lt. Col. Terrence McGee, 4th Air Force KC-46A pilot, this training will help provide a more ready and deployable force from the reserve component.
“For Iar Force Reserve Command, as far as the number of people, one of the largest mission sets is aeromedical evacuations,” McGee said. “So the mission today is to support aeromedical evacuation personnel getting an initial qualification on the KC-46A. The quicker we can get them indoctrinated and familiar with the equipment, the sooner we can employ it.”
As a multifunctional aircraft, the KC-46A can refuel military aircraft in flight and airlift various loads, including passengers, medical patients and cargo.
Tech. Sgt. Tristan Thorland, a 433rd AES technician, said that some of the things they trained on were the different capabilities the KC-46A offered.
“In comparing this aircraft to other aircraft, it’s very comfortable, we don’t have sudden temperature changes and it has all the amenities we need,” Thorland said. “It’s not as big as a C-17 [Globemaster III], but it’s a good aircraft and we’ll probably be using it a lot.”
The training included a day familiarization with the aircraft and two days of in-flight training for medical personnel. They practiced the loading and offloading of aeromedical equipment, gear and supplies, while also simulating caring for incapacitated patients.
Once the aircraft was in flight, medical technicians practiced responding to patient medical emergencies, such as in-flight sicknesses, seizures and falls. They also simulated scenarios involving cabin decompression and an emergency landing.
Lt. Col. Ronald A. Deregla, 433rd AES chief nurse, said that adding the KC-46A to the aeromedical evacuation aircraft inventory will provide more capabilities to transport medical patients.
“It’s a great experience for all of us to learn this… because now we have a greater platform to air medivac,” Deregla said. “We normally use the C-130s [Hercules], KC-135s [Stratotanker], C-5s [Super Galaxy] or C-17s, and now we have an addition to give us an opportunity to move more patients.”
The 433rd AES mission is to fill the need when events like natural disasters, war or routine medical transportation by air is required.
The KC-46A is a multi-service aircraft that provides next-generation aerial refueling support and is multi-mission capable.