Luke ASTS Airmen train with ANG, VA

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Nestor Cruz
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron participated in a multi-agency exercise Feb. 9, 2020 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Nurses, pharmacy technicians and flight doctors were among the squadron members who participated in the National Disaster Medical System training exercise.

“This exercise is not the full scale exercise the Federal Coordinating Center holds every three years, but a smaller element of it,” said Master Sgt. Justin Sanderson, 944th ASTS aerospace medical technician and NDMS training coordinator. “Our focus here is on triage, patient transport on and off aircraft and dual use vehicles, patient care en route, and aircraft familiarization in a Total Force Integration environment.”

ASTS members teamed up with Arizona Air National Guard Airmen from the 161st Air Refueling Wing to conduct the exercise with the help of Phoenix Veterans Affairs and various agencies including Army National Guard, Department of Homeland Security, the Red Cross, and local fire departments.

“We felt a joint training environment would be the best place to expose our Critical Care Air Transport Team to elements such as staging patients, litter carrying, and familiarization with the KC-135 and Blackhawk,” Sanderson said. “We want to expose ASTS members to training we don’t normally have here on our own.”

All participating agencies worked together seamlessly, and quickly achieved the exercise goals.

“Overall the exercise was a huge success,” said Capt. Kevin Yingling, 944th ASTS officer-in-charge of simulation training. “It was a pleasure seeing different branches coming together as a team and being mission-ready, not just as separate units, but as a whole.”