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455th EAEF creates flying ambulance
Staff Sgt. Jordan Piper and Capt. Sarah Morton, both aeromedical evacuation crew members, discuss patient information prior to receiving patients aboard a C-17. The crew was headed to Landstuhl Medical Center from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, so their patients could receive further medical care. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard)
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Dispatch from the Front: 455th EAEF creates flying ambulance

Posted 3/24/2011   Updated 3/25/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/24/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- When a servicemember is injured in Afghanistan, the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedial Evacuation Flight works to get them further medical care within 72 hours.

The 455th EAEF picks up patients when they are stable enough to move and brings them to Germany, with a 98 percent survival rate.

"We provide flexible and responsive in-flight wartime critical care to ill or injured U.S. and coalition forces," said Lt. Col. Kathleen Flarity, 455th EAEF commander. "This is the best job in the Air Force, I work with talented people and we take care of wounded warriors."

This year, the 455th EAEF has helped 1,710 patients thus far.

The squadron consists of four crews with two nurses and three technicians and three critical care teams with a doctor, nurse and technician.

There is also an operations team that schedules flights and tracks patients.

Patients are received from the contingency aeromedical staging facility where patient information is shared. The AE crews then can take a C-17, C-130 or KC-135 aircraft and transform them into a flying ambulance.

The AE crews carry about 850 pounds of equipment, and the CCATs carry about 1,000 pounds of equipment.

"The CCAT gear is heavier, but the AE gear has more components," said Maj. Dana Dallas, 455th Aeromedical Evacuation operations team assistant officer-in-charge. "All kits are made the same so that anyone could grab a kit and know where everything is."

Crews also always anticipate extra patients just in case.

Active duty, Guard and Reserve are all represented in the 455th EAEF.

"Traditionally the Guard and Reserve members have more experience because they work in civilian hospitals and see more injuries that active duty members don't always have opportunity to see," said Colonel Flarity, deployed from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. "Eighty-eight percent of AE squadrons are Guard and Reserve."

"I am prior active duty, and it's great to see how the active duty, Guard and Reserve come together to execute the aeromedical evacuation mission," said Major Dallas, deployed from Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y.

In addition to AE missions, the 455th EAEF also flies a bandage flight around Afghanistan to provide medical treatment for non-battle related injuries.

Members of Bagram also volunteer to help the 455th EAEF load patients on planes.

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