142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Delaware National Guard aviation perform joint exercise

  • Published
  • By Mr. Mitch Topal
  • 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron

On a scorching summer afternoon in New Castle, Del., the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron performed a joint “tail-to-tail” exercise with Delaware Army National Guard’s 1-126th Aviation unit on August 20th, 2020.

A multi-ship formation of two Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters transported a simulated injured patient to the Delaware Air National Guard flight line where a detail of 14 medical specialists from the 142nd AES stood ready to render acute trauma and basic life support. A 166th Airlift Wing C-130H Hercules, when configured as an air evacuation platform, is equipped for AES Airmen to provide hospital-level critical care in the air, aid in disaster relief efforts and bring injured warfighters home.

The C-130, a workhorse of the Air Force’s medical evacuation mission, can be configured to carry up to 74 litter patients, is outfitted with electrical and oxygen systems for medical equipment and is specifically designed to reduce the negative impact of altitude on patients and medical crews.

“The exercise was designed to test our interoperability with fixed-wing and rotary wing assets. Moreover, it fostered a working relationship between the 166th Airlift Wing and Delaware National Guard Army Aviation,” said Air Force Maj. Timothy Stoekle, Senior Health Technician.

“The exercise also provided the opportunity to some of our newer Airmen to take part in a tail-to-tail patient transfer that they could encounter in a domestic operations or overseas environment. In addition, we hope to be able to help our Army Flight Medics to become more knowledgeable on fixed-wing patient movement as well,” added Stoekle.

For over 60 years, the venerable C-130 Hercules aircraft has been used by the Air Force and other military branches as a tactical, intra-theater aeromedical evacuation platform. Rounding out the military’s aeromedical capabilities is the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, which can be configured to carry all the medical equipment you would see in the back of an ambulance, and has the capacity to hold up to three litters, or four ambulatory patients.