Nebraska, Missouri Guard Medical Groups Train in Japan

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Nielsen,
  • 155th Air Refueling Wing, Nebraska Air National Guard

OKINAWA, Japan – Medical groups from the Nebraska and Missouri Air National Guard completed Military Facility Annual Training at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa Aug. 2-11.

The two-week training provided real-life experiences in a hospital the members of the 155th Medical Group and 139th Medical Group are not exposed to during regularly scheduled drills. The medical facility’s annual training tours are only offered to units that exceed their medical readiness standards set by the National Guard Bureau.

“Medical units are graded quarterly on certain criteria called individual medical readiness, to include vaccine status, blood draws, dental and preventative health assessments,” said Lt. Col. Amy Johnson, medical administrative officer, 155th Medical Group, Nebraska.

She said participants included doctors, nurse practitioners, administrative specialists, respiratory therapists, public health, bio-environmental, medics and a physician assistant. 

“They all have different requirements to keep up on their skills and it’s important to meet these requirements to ensure the AFSC-specific skills that allow an Airman to perform the full scope of duties associated with their specialty to be prepared to step up and deploy if needed.”

Johnson said the training also contributes to the 155th mission at home.

“This gave them the opportunity to work clinically in an active duty hospital intensive care unit, emergency department, a respiratory therapy unit, multiple-service ward, dental, and so forth,” she said. “It is good training at an active duty facility where you know you are going to get the training and it’s going to be very busy.”

The 155th Air Refueling Wing’s medical mission statement is to respond anytime and anywhere to support homeland defense or expeditionary operations with a competent and ready medical force. All 38 members who needed specialized requirements volunteered for the training.

“It is important to maintaining our mission-essential medical skills and clinical readiness,” said Capt. Amye Dusatko, a registered nurse with the 155th Medical Group. “By partnering with our naval counterparts, we are given the opportunity for hands-on experience with traumas and other injuries, expanding our skill set and ensuring we are ready when called upon for duty.”

Dusatko also cited the benefits of working with another branch.

“The Navy physicians and corpsmen here offer such a wide array of experience and it has been extremely beneficial to work alongside them,” said Dusatko. “... Not only did we get our training, but we were able to backfill critical areas, easing the burden on our naval brothers and sisters.”

Dusatko said there was “nothing more rewarding than caring for and serving fellow service members and their dependents, who sacrifice so much.”