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106th Medical Group Get Hands-On in Alaska

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  • By SSgt Daniel Farrell

The Airmen traveled from F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach, New York, to train with the 673rd Medical Group.

It was the 106th Medical Groups first Military Facility Annual Training, or MFAT for short, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The medical Airmen had the opportunity to hone their skills with hands-on work during the two-week training, said  Lt. Col. Shanjay Shetty, a 106th Medical Group flight surgeon and commander of the joint training. 

The 106th Medical Group’s bioenvironmental engineering specialists, who are tasked to reduce health hazards of the work environment, completed shop visits, shared and learned best practices with the 673rd Medical Group’s bioenvironmental engineering specialists. 

The 106th Medical Group’s dental team Airmen completed their administrative duties for the 106th and also trained at the 673rd’s Dental Clinic. 

106th flight surgeons trained hands-on with their Alaskan counterparts in water survival, conduct after capture, and experienced a mid-air refueling. 

Finally, the combat medics, commonly referred to as 4-N’s, completed rotations at Elmendorf- Richarson’s  hospital. They also trained with advanced medical simulation mannequins in a mock field hospital and combat setting. 

“Coming up here has been a very productive experience and very rewarding, both personally and professionally,” Shetty said. “The 673rd Medical Group has been very supportive in helping us in terms of providing patient care experiences and simulator sessions.”

The 673rd Medical Group is one of the few units that have advanced medical simulation mannequins, Shetty explained. They have the ability to talk, bleed, blink and show breathing just like a human patient, he said.

The commander of the 106th Medical Group, Lt. Col. Stephen “Doc” Rush wants all medical technicians to get hands-on training with these state-of-the art training aids,  said Major Mark Wilborn, 106th Medical Group readiness officer

“When someone sees “MED” on the shoulder of an Airman, they’re going to expect them to be able to help,” Wilborn said. “Col. Rush wants everyone who wears that patch to have the ability to be an operational field medic.”

The combat medics were expected to encounter a patient, assess the injuries, mitigate the risk to the patient, stop bleeding, treat secondary wounds, and/or resuscitate the patient and maintain the airway as quickly, and safely, as possible.

Essentially, the medics were expected to take a badly injured ‘person’ from near death to stable and ready for transport to a safe location or hospital, Shetty explained.

The training was really effective, said Airman 1st Class David Mangiameli, one of the medics.

“Training on simulation mannequins provides an opportunity to refresh our skills and maintain competencies that we may not frequently encounter,” Mangiameli said.

 “Only until pieces of plastic in training labs become patients in trauma bays, can you fully appreciate the benefits of being here,” he added.

The 106th Rescue Wing, based at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft, and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th RQW is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers, specializing in rescue and recovery, and deploys for domestic and overseas operations. Currently the wing also supports statewide COVID-19 missions.