AFDW Airmen and Walter Reed Soldiers and Sailors train together to protect the warfighter

  • Published
  • By Maj. Robert Sperling
  • AFDW Public Affairs
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen Marines and Coast Guardsmen are deployed today to the far reaches of the globe; with global posture and reach comes an inherent risk of exposure to diseases or unknown infections. Tuesday, August 16 Airmen from Air Mobility Command, Joint Base Charleston, Air Force District of Washington, and Soldiers and Sailors from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) trained together to ensure their ability to provide care and transport to a simulated patient infected with a highly infectious disease.

“This exercise is a culmination of several years of planning, training and preparing beginning back in 2014,” said Mr. Chris Gillette, Command Emergency Manager., WRNMMC. “Our biggest priority throughout this exercise and in a real world event is life safety. We must ensure that our staff, patients, visitors, and facility are safe from cross contamination. We do a lot of extra training to ensure the safety elements throughout the patient transfer and care. This could happen tomorrow, and this unit and the staff are trained to handle these highly contagious patients with the help of all of our joint partners.”

Participants exercised their ability to incorporate the transport isolation system (TIS) and demonstrate how it enhances the Department of Defense’s ability to safely transport patients infected by a highly contagious infectious disease.

“We do continuous training,” said Gillette. “This is an exercise and we expect to see things that we could make better, but this unit and staff are trained and ready to handle these types of patients.”

Joint Base Andrews was the receiving airfield of the simulated “patient” being brought into the United States by C-17 before being transported overland to the WRNMMC where additional AFDW Airmen alongside their joint service partners continued the patient care.

“I am glad I got to participate in this joint exercise,” said SrA Amy Florkiewicz, 79th Medical Wing (AFDW). ”We do a lot of training with donning and doffing our protective suits, but by participating in the exercise from start to finish we were able to learn even more about how to operate within that environment. This exercise also let us work with the Isolation Pod that John Hopkins provided. This is a piece of equipment that do normally see or use and we were able to learn how to use and break down should we ever need it in the future.”

Joint exercises throughout the National Capitol Region ensure that all of the services are able to provide superior support to whatever contingency may appear. Airmen from the 79th Medical Wing stand shoulder to shoulder with the Soldiers and Sailors directly assigned to the Walter Reed complex ensuring the best possible care whatever the situation.