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106th Medical Group gets hands-on training in Alaska

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Daniel Farrell,
  • 106th Rescue Wing/Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, ALASKA - Thirty-four New York Air National Guard Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing Medical Group trained in Alaska alongside their Active Air Force counterparts May 1-15.

The Airmen traveled from F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach, New York, to train with the 673rd Medical Group.

It was the 106th Medical Group’s first military facility annual training since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The medical Airmen honed their skills with hands-on work during the two-week training, said Lt. Col. Shanjay Shetty, a 106th Medical Group flight surgeon and commander of the joint training.

The 106th Medical Group’s bioenvironmental engineering specialists, who reduce health hazards in work environments, completed shop visits and shared best practices with their counterparts in the 673rd Medical Group.

The 106th Medical Group’s dental team Airmen completed their administrative duties for the 106th and trained at the 673rd’s dental clinic.

Flight surgeons with the 106th trained with their Alaskan peers on water survival and conduct after capture. They also experienced midair refueling.

Combat medics completed rotations at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richarson’s hospital. They also trained with advanced medical simulation mannequins in a mock field hospital and combat setting.

“Coming up here has been a very productive experience and very rewarding, both personally and professionally,” Shetty said. “The 673rd Medical Group has been very supportive in helping us in terms of providing patient care experiences and simulator sessions.”

The 673rd Medical Group is one of the few units that have advanced medical simulation mannequins, Shetty said. 

Lt. Col. Stephen Rush, 106th Medical Group commander, wants all medical technicians to train with these state-of-the-art training aids, said Maj. Mark Wilborn, 106th Medical Group readiness officer.

“When someone sees ‘MED’ on the shoulder of an Airman, they’re going to expect them to be able to help,” Wilborn said. “Col. Rush wants everyone who wears that patch to have the ability to be an operational field medic.”

The combat medics were expected to assess a patient’s injuries, mitigate the risk to the patient, stop bleeding, treat secondary wounds, resuscitate the patient and maintain the airway.

Essentially, they were expected to take a badly injured ‘person’ from near-death to stable and ready for transport, Shetty explained.

“Training on simulation mannequins provides an opportunity to refresh our skills and maintain competencies that we may not frequently encounter,” said Airman 1st Class David Mangiameli, one of the medics. “Only until pieces of plastic in training labs become patients in trauma bays can you fully appreciate the benefits of being here,” he added.

The 106th Rescue Wing operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th RQW is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers and deploys for domestic and overseas operations.