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Medical Reservists maintain readiness, enhance skillsets for COVID-19

Capt. Tawnie Robert, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, and Staff Sgt. Cristina Tust, 34 AES aeromedical evacuation technician, set up medical equipment for a training mission on a C-130 Hercules, April 6, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 34 AES reservists conducted an aeromedical training to maintain their skills in providing critical care to patients before and while in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg)

Senior Airman Garrett Crouse, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, simulates giving a safety briefing to patients before loading them onto a C-130 Hercules during an aeromedical training mission, April 6, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 34 AES reservists conducted an aeromedical training to maintain their skills in providing critical care to patients before and while in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg)

Staff Sgt. Cristina Tust and Tech. Sgt. Nolan Beihl, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technicians, load a simulated patient onto a C-130 Hercules during an aeromedical training, April 6, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 34 AES reservists conducted an aeromedical training to maintain their skills in providing critical care to patients before and while in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg)

Capt. Tawnie Robert, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, and Senior Airman Garrett Crouse, 34 AES aeromedical evacuation technician, check and gather medical equipment for a training mission, April 6, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 34 AES reservists conducted an aeromedical training to maintain their skills in providing critical care to patients before and while in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg)

Senior Airman Garrett Crouse, 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, sets up straps in a C-130 Hercules to hold medical equipment and simulated patients during a training mission, April 6, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. The 34 AES reservists conducted an aeromedical training to maintain their skills in providing critical care to patients before and while in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lundberg)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Air Force Reservists with the 34th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron participated in a training mission Apr. 6th to maintain and enhance their medical skills.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Mar. 27th authorizing the activation of the reserve force to support the COVID-19 response. Since then, medical personnel from several bases have been activated and sent to hospitals around the country.

While 34 AES reservists trained to maintain their normal skillsets of providing critical medical care to ill and injured patients, they also evaluated how their response would change if they were activated to support the COVID-19 response. 

“Today we have orthopedic injuries, or combat injuries, in our scenario,” said Lt. Col. Kimberly MacPherson, 34 AES director of operations. “But due to what is going on in the world, we are also including enhanced infection control while on the plane.”

The AES reservists volunteered to participate in the training and were provided the proper personal protection equipment to protect themselves while training. They set up a C-130H to hold their medical gear and then simulated receiving patients onto the aircraft with mannequins. Once they were in flight, the team ran through several scenarios.   

“It’s important for all the units to maintain mission readiness and make sure our Airmen are ready to respond to a tasking in case we get a request,” said Col. James DeVere, 302nd Airlift Wing commander. “That is why we are continuing to train in AE and our normal C-130 airland mission to answer the call when the American people need us.”