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Canadian officer trains with U.S. aeromedical evacuation team

Canadian Armed Forces member stands

Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, poses for a photo, April 4, 2019, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Rodrigue divides his time here at Scott AFB both as a student and a teacher by participating in a knowledge exchange program between the United States and Canada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Erwin)

Canadian Armed Forces member sits

Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, shows U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zach Tarson, 375 AES aeromedical evacuation technician, how to use the computer for the simulation and technology lab, April 4, 2019, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The simulation and technology lab has mannequins designed to display different programmed scenarios for testing the skill sets of the flight nurses assigned to the 375th AES. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Erwin)

375th Armored Evactuation Squadron patch sits on uniform

Patches for the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the Canadian flag are displayed on a flight suit belonging to Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, 375th AES flight nurse, April 4, 2019, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Rodrigue, who is part of the Canadian Forces, is here on a three-year exchange program between Scott AFB and 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, Canada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Erwin)

Canadian Armed Forces member stands

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Zach Tarson, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, left, shows proper blood drawing techniques to Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, 375th AES flight nurse, right, April 4, 2019, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Rodrigue is a part of a foreign knowledge exchange program between Canada and the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Erwin)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- For as long as there have been planes landing at Scott AFB, there have been aeromedical evacuation missions.

And joining the experts in performing the AE mission here is Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Patrick Rodrigue, who joined the team last year as a participant in a knowledge exchange with the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Knowledge exchange programs allow members from the United States and partner countries to come together and teach each other how missions are performed in the respective nations.

Some programs allow members to move abroad and embed with the partner nation’s unit. This type of exchange is what Rodrigue will continue to be part of as he lives and works here for another two years.

He’s here serving as a flight nurse from his home unit, 8 Wing, Trenton, Canadian Forces Aeromedical Evacuation.  From sharing expertise on how to save lives, to learning the lingo, it’s a chance for growth, he said.

For example, “while I am learning how the U.S. performs the AE mission, we might all be speaking English, but it’s like learning a new language,” he said.  “Terminology has been a minor challenge … the military terminology in Canada and the U.S. may mean the same thing, but we use different words.”

While learning from the 375th AES experts, he said he’s also able to share his skills with the medical technicians and flight nurses on how to perform different interventions that are crucial to saving a patient’s life while being in the air at over 35,000 feet.

Senior Airman Zach Tarson, 375th AES aeromedical evacuation technician, said that, “from the first day he arrived, you could tell he was eager and excited to be a part of our simulation and technology element.  …And being able to learn from Capt. Rodrigue, and having him as a mentor, has been a great privilege.  I can’t thank him enough for the knowledge and everything he shares with us to make us better Airmen.”

Rodrigue said he was a little nervous about fitting in when he first came here, “however, upon arrival, the 375th AES has been extremely supportive. They accepted me with open arms and made me feel like a part of the family right off the bat. I never worry about the challenges because I know there’s always someone there to help me out.

“I’m having a blast! This is really interesting learning from the U.S., and I would highly recommend a program like this to anybody. If you have the opportunity, seize it and go.”