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375th AES from Scott takes part in Exercise Mobility Guardian

Lt. Col. Catherine Bonhoff, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Director of Operations, talks with a simulated patient during Exercise Mobility Guardian at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Lt. Col. Catherine Bonhoff, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron Director of Operations, talks with a simulated patient during Exercise Mobility Guardian at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka Engblom)

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -- More than 3,000 U.S. service members and international partners took part in Exercise Mobility Guardian, which concluded Aug. 12.

Two of the participating units were the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and the 156th AES from Charlotte Air National Guard Base in Charlotte, N.C.

The squadrons’ primary duties are to provide lifesaving capabilities to those under duress. During the missions, doctors and nurses transported patients from the first level of care to definitive care.

First-level care is basic first aid performed by the patient on himself or by a wingman, and definitive care is medical service performed by professional doctors and nurses, explained Lt. Col. Catherine Bonhoff, 375th AES Director of Operations.

Exercise Mobility Guardian enabled the squadrons’ Airmen to receive training that is as close as possible to what they would experience in real-world scenarios, explained Bonhoff.

“Most of our younger Airmen have not had a chance to experience anything on this scale before,” she said. “It is an investment in our future.”

Senior Airman Jovanna Mixon, 156th AES duty controller, expressed similar thoughts after completing the training.

“The exercise has been a great experience from my end,” Mixon said. “It has allowed me to push myself while gaining familiarity in aerial evacuation functions and flows. I am now able to better understand the process and work with my team to successfully push out missions.”

Mobility Guardian also facilitated familiarity in dealing with other nations, Bonhoff said. Overall, 25 different nations participated in the exercise.

“Working with our international partners has expanded my global mindset,” said Bonhoff. “It has allowed us to test what working with other nations would look like should we ever be needed in the case of a humanitarian event.”

Bonhoff said her biggest personal takeaway from her experience at Mobility Guardian was the commitment she witnessed from the Airmen who are part of the aeromedical evacuation mission.

“I’ve learned to have faith and trust in the professional abilities of the Airmen who come here to complete the mission,” she said. “I have seen incredible dedication, professionalism and passion, and it will shape the way I deal with the Airmen I am responsible for training.”