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Massachusetts Guard Partners with Fellow Innovators

  • Published
  • By U.S. Army Capt. John Quinn,
  • Massachusetts Army National Guard

WASHINGTON - Imagine being so injured, all you can think about is wanting to die. 

Under the best conditions, it takes about five minutes for a trained medical professional to establish an intravenous point to start giving a steady flow of pain medication. They must treat the injuries and monitor the patient’s vitals to see whether it sufficiently relieves the suffering — assuming there aren’t more victims calling for help nearby. 

What if you had a handheld device you could apply to your body and start the process yourself in about a minute? 

One group of Soldiers, Airmen and civilian biomedical experts found a possible way to make it a reality through an AKESO Wearable On-Body Device, which could aid and monitor a patient for up to 72 hours. It could eventually provide a variety of medications and relay patient data to help doctors treat them. 

U.S. Army Spc. Paul Martin of the 387th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, Massachusetts National Guard, was glad to work on Team Asclepius Shield so he could participate, learn and potentially save lives. 

“We’re really proud of it – it actually has legs,” Martin said, adding this will help people in combat or emergencies. “This has the potential to keep people in the fight.”
Now they must find the means to fund the proposal and acquire federal approval to employ it. 

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James Parry, assistant surgeon general for the Michigan Air National Guard, said he believes the Joint Surgeon at National Guard Bureau would be interested in the $5.2 million project and potentially receptive to allocating funding.
“This has many more uses since this is battlefield trauma,” Parry said, adding this goes beyond the scope of agile combat employment used by the Air Force. 

The proposal was one of five from those participating in the 10-week certification program, Academia Industry Military Hybrid Innovation (AIM-HI). The groups presented their products to senior military leaders, business partners and innovators at the National Guard Memorial Museum March 31. 

“This is easily one of the best things, the best military training I’ve ever done,” Martin said. 

Each team had to create an innovative proposal to resolve problems tied to Department of Defense priorities. 

Other groups comprised of a mix of experience, rank and service pitched the following concepts: 
• Automating a fleet of aircraft to resupply numerous remote locations and free pilots and crews for essential missions.  
• Establishing an alternative GPS network to protect position, navigation and timing of military systems from jamming, spoofing or interference. 
• Improving personal and unit readiness by compiling information on a single dashboard from more than 100 existing databases. 
• Using artificial intelligence via an automated maintenance inspection data analysis system to track repair status, logistics databases and operational needs by connecting existing systems.
While not all projects receive funding, those approved make a difference, according to U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Daniel DeVoe, director of integration and innovation deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements for USAF Headquarters in the Pentagon.
“Continue to share your ideas,” DeVoe said. 

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, Michigan National Guard assistant adjutant general – air, said the certification program exemplifies innovation. 

“Innovation, like many things, isn’t instinctive for everyone,” Teff said. 

Members of the Massachusetts National Guard Innovation Team (MANGIT) who attended AIM-HI to support Martin were impressed by the balanced composition of the groups and inspired by the proposals.  

U.S. Army Maj. Brent Bundy, MANGIT manager, said they support the growth of our innovative culture through the empowerment of junior service members. The team continually seeks proposals to resolve issues through technology or process improvements through an annual pitch to senior leaders. 

“Spc. Paul Martin is a great example of the vast potential our junior members bring to the table,” Bundy said, adding Martin’s suggestion to purchase a 3-D printer came to fruition in 2022. 

Bundy and his successor, U.S. Army Maj. Johnny Kula, also met with members of fellow innovation teams from Georgia and Michigan who all want to collaborate to promote the process throughout the ranks, services and across the nation.