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103rd Medics build teamwork at Medic Rodeo

U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard, pose for a picture during the Medic Rodeo at Cannon Air Force Base and Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico, Sept. 17-20, 2019. The event, hosted by the 27th Special Operations Medical Group, features 19 Air Force medical technician teams from around the world and trained skills in both deployed and home station scenarios. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard, pose for a picture during the Medic Rodeo at Cannon Air Force Base and Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico, Sept. 17-20, 2019. The event, hosted by the 27th Special Operations Medical Group, features 19 Air Force medical technician teams from around the world and trained skills in both deployed and home station scenarios. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

EAST GRANBY, Conn. -- Airmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing's Medical Group, Connecticut Air National Guard, joined 18 other Air Force medical teams from around the world for the 12th annual Medic Rodeo at Cannon Air Force Base and Melrose Air Force Range, New Mexico, Sept. 17-20, 2019.

The rodeo, hosted by the 27th Special Operations Medical Group, is a competition scored using the aerospace medical technician protocol skills sheet. Teams responded to simulated combat, home-station emergency scenarios and received the Air Force's new Tactical Combat Casualty Care training.

"The training is a new replacement for the current Self Aid Buddy Care, and we'll all be transitioning to it very soon," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Machost, the 103rd Medical Group aerospace medical technician functional manager.

The event was a valuable learning opportunity for Airman 1st Class Andrew Batchelor, one of the group's newest aerospace medical technicians.

"Being fresh out of school, it was very beneficial to get this hands-on experience," said Batchelor. "It's different than what we typically do here on a regular basis, but it makes us better in that role because we get to look at different situations and gain new perspectives."

Senior Airman Kayla Walsh, a 103rd Medical Group health services technician, had no medic-specific experience before the rodeo.

"My teammates didn't leave me out because I'm a non-medic – they included me and pushed me to do my best as part of the team," Walsh said. "I know a lot more than I did before and I'm glad I went."

Being in this environment gives the team an opportunity to work together for the betterment of a patient and share ideas regardless of rank, said Machost.

"We respect rank, but when you're working with patients, it's a team atmosphere," said Machost. "You could have a junior enlisted Airman that has better knowledge of the situation, so it's all about 'what can we do together to help this patient get better?'"

"That's what I think being in the military is all about – figuring things out and using your experience to forward the mission, and I think that's what we did," said Batchelor. "There was definitely a learning curve, but with all of our different experience, we were able to bounce ideas off each other."

The 103rd was one of two Guard units selected to participate in the training; a team from the 143rd Medical Group of the Rhode Island Air National Guard also attended. The Flying Yankees hope to make the Medic Rodeo a regularly attended event to continually improve the skill set of their aerospace medical technicians, said Machost.

"I'll definitely push for our medical group to sign up every year that we can get there," Machost said. "As a coach, I was able to evaluate our team's performance in that moment, but also bring that experience back to make our medics better in the Connecticut Air National Guard and provide the best care possible when we get called into the community."

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