459 AES join 756 ARS to ensure Total Force Readiness

Capt. Meia Rabotaeu, 459th Aeromedical Squadron flight nurse, reviews her checklist during a training exercise aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker Feb. 10. The standard aeromedical crew consists of two flight nurses and three aeromedcial technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Aaron Stout)

Capt. Meia Rabotaeu, 459th Aeromedical Squadron flight nurse, reviews her checklist during a training exercise aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker Feb. 10. The standard aeromedical crew consists of two flight nurses and three aeromedcial technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Aaron Stout)

Members of the 459th Aeromedical Squadron treat a simulated patient during a training exercise aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker flying over the Carolinas Feb. 10. The squadron conducts the training about once a week in order to allow every member to maintain their required amount of in-flight hours. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Aaron Stout)

Members of the 459th Aeromedical Squadron treat a simulated patient during a training exercise aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker flying over the Carolinas Feb. 10. The squadron conducts the training about once a week in order to allow every member to maintain their required amount of in-flight hours. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Aaron Stout)

Capt. Meia Rabotaeu, 459th Aeromedical Squadron flight nurse, inserts an uncuffed tracheal tube into a simulated patient during a training exercise aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker high above the Carolinas Feb. 10. The exercise was conducted during an aerial refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Aaron Stout)

Capt. Meia Rabotaeu, 459th Aeromedical Squadron flight nurse, inserts an uncuffed tracheal tube into a simulated patient during a training exercise aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker high above the Carolinas Feb. 10. The exercise was conducted during an aerial refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Aaron Stout)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Leading the way in Total Force Readiness and efficiency, members of the 756th Air Refueling Squadron and the 459th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron combined two missions that accomplished essential training for both teams into one flight high above the Carolinas Feb. 10.

The 459 AES accomplished in-flight emergency response training while the 756 ARS completed an aerial refueling mission.

Preceding the missions, Master Sgt. Karim Kronfli, 756 ARS boom operator, briefed all 20 passengers on the KC-135 Stratotanker.

"There's an area over South Carolina where we could experience moderate to severe turbulence," said Kronfli. "Once we get to that area everyone will be required to sit down and buckle up. We will also be doing some pattern work to practice approaches, landing and takeoffs toward the end."

In spite of the challenges that lay ahead, both units donned their headset devices to communicate effectively within the noisy aircraft and took to the skies to refuel a thirsty Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J STARS) battle management and command and control aircraft.

The medical aircrew had about an hour before choppy skies threatened to interrupt their training.

Tech. Sgt. Anthony Slamin, 459 AES aeromedical technician, kicked off the medical response training on cue. He began to act as if he encountered a fuselage fire and worked to put it out -- without wearing an oxygen mask.

Once the fire was extinguished, the "patient" suffered from respiratory distress due to smoke inhalation. The medical techs used the two littered mannequins on board to conduct their medical training.

Capt. Meia Raboteau, 459 AES flight nurse, and Staff Sgt. Adam Willemssen, 459 AES aeromedical technician, worked under the guidance of their Charge Medical Technician, treating the patient's "injuries" while the other aeromedical technicians observed and listened in on their headsets.

Treatment required the insertion of an uncuffed tracheal tube used for "intubating" a patient who cannot breathe independently and setting up an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to monitor the patient's heartbeat.

As reserve bases comprise the majority of the aeromedical squadrons, staying trained up is essential to Total Force Readiness.

"Active duty has four bases that implement aeromedical evacuation: Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Kadena AB, Okinawa; Pope Air Force Base, N.C. and Scott AFB, which account for 15 to 20 percent of actual air evacuation missions." said Tech. Sgt. Esteban Contreras. "The rest are all manned by reservists and guard members."

On the flight deck, the 756th ARS team completed their proficiency flying mission, but problems with the boom mechanism used to load fuel from the KC-135 to the JSTARS jet prevented a refueling.

As outlined by Air Force leadership recently, reserve and guard components are playing a much larger role in air superiority.

The 756 ARS and 459 AES have worked together successfully since the inception of the 459th in 2003. Their combined training contributes to success in Total Force Readiness and Total Force Integration.