75 troops and civilians join in medical evacuation exercise Friday at New Castle air base; members of Delaware National Guard, Del. Division of Public Health and Wilmington V.A. Hospital to participate

Release Number: 020908

Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
Office 302-323-3369, or cell 302-593-2126
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2008-9-002, September 3, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CASTLE - On Friday morning, Sept. 5, 2008, about 75 troops, Airmen and Soldiers from several Delaware National Guard units, as well as a dozen specialists from civilian government agencies will participate in the main part of an exercise named "Operation Joint Response 08" to test their ability to respond to a disaster where medical treatment and patient evacuation is needed.

Exercise participants will perform field work over the two day period of Sept. 4-5.

On Thursday morning Sept. 4, staff from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Public Health will participate by erecting four large tents to build an Expeditionary Medical System, or EMEDS for short - (the Air Force equivalent of an Army M*A*S*H* unit). The EMEDS is a 10-bed facility with an emergency room, an intensive care unit (ICU), a patient ward and a command cell.

On Friday morning Sept. 5 the main exercise activity occurs. After a simulated disaster, Airmen will erect a Mobile Aeromedical Staging Facility (or MASF), for staging patients and preparing them for flight. Two Delaware Army Guard UH-1 Huey helicopters will land, load simulated patients and takeoff. If available and not needed for possible hurricane relief missions this weekend, one Delaware Air Guard C-130 transport aircraft will also be loaded with similar patients. "Live" patients with simulated injuries will be used, as well as mannequins. Airmen from the Delaware Air Guard's 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 166th Medical Group will be players in the exercise.

Also Friday morning, Airmen will drive simulated patients to the Wilmington V.A. Hospital in Elsmere aboard a two-and-a-half ton truck.

Additional members of the Delaware Air National Guard's 166th Airlift Wing and the Delaware Army National Guard aviation unit planned the exercise.

The Delaware National Guard Joint Operations Center, already activated 24/7 for real-world Delaware National Guard hurricane relief missions to the Gulf Coast, will be engaged in the exercise to monitor exercise progress and communications between units and agencies.

Observers will be on hand from agencies such as the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Emergency Management Authority, and possibly other military or civilian agencies.

"We will use both fixed wing and rotary aircraft to load and move patients, gain proficiency in our skills, and learn from one other so we can better perform our jobs in the event of a real-world emergency," said Lt. Col. Mike Pollock, health services administrator from the 166th Medical Group, Delaware Air National Guard, and the exercise lead coordinator. "We want to train our troops to gain experience performing an engine-running on-load onto aircraft, and have synergy between exercise personnel."

"We are very happy to have civilian participants in this exercise. They have a lot of crucial medical equipment, and the Delaware National Guard has a large number of skilled people who would use this equipment in a real-world situation," said Lt. Col. Pollock. "This is a chance to learn more about our different capabilities, and work with each other."

An exercise evaluation team will watch all activities to evaluate exercise performance and mission execution.

This exercise was slightly rescheduled and modified because Delaware National Guard troops are actively responding to the Hurricane Gustav relief efforts on the Gulf Coast, and as Tropical Storm Hanna approaches the U.S. East Coast.

On Thursday, news media may arrive as early as 8:30 a.m. with tent erection starting 9:00 a.m. and finished by 10:00 a.m.

On Friday, news media may arrive from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to cover the actual exercise with air and ground movement of 15 simulated patients, with the last air movement activity by helicopter shortly after 10:00 a.m. The exercise kicks off promptly at 8:00 a.m.

Base address: 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE, 19720.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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