MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Medical facility personnel arrive for another day on the job and prepare for the day’s workload. Immediately a voice over the intercom sounds off, “Code blue! Code blue! Code blue!,” alerting all staff a patient has collapsed from a heart attack and requires immediate attention.
When a 35th Medical Group team assembles, it’s during these intense moments technicians rely on their training so they can focus to save a life; they focus every single week to ensure these critical skills are engrained into their bodies.
“Our main mission here is focused on aero-evacuation,” said Master Sgt. Charlene Blunt, the 35th Medical Group education and training flight chief from Fort Baltimore Beach, Florida. “If there were a disaster in our region, this would be one of the central hubs used to bring patients through and transfer them to other areas.”
To meet mission criteria, the 35th MDG closes their facility one Friday a month ensuring all of their personnel have the necessary skills to execute the j-o-b regardless of what kind of situation they run into.
“Sometimes we may have to relocate to an alternate facility,” Blunt said. “That requires us to know how to utilize our portable equipment, called “bug-out” equipment, which we take with us from location to location. Training helps personnel get more comfortable with the equipment.”
Global reach does not just apply to bombs on target; the group trains for mass casualty recovery but also singular evacuations around the world.
“We play a large role in the big Air Force,” Blunt said. “We help patients get the medical care they need because it’s not always readily available in our area. It results in them being healthy and enabling them to carry on their job.”
Blunt added training for these scenarios not only prepares newer personnel for the base’s medical evacuation mission, but trains technicians who don’t commonly face the situations specific to Misawa.
“Personally, I think it’s good to get a refresher on the different topics in the medical world,” said Airman 1st Class Ian Cyr, a 35th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician. “With all the knowledge personnel have to know and retain, it’s the little things that are most likely to be forgotten. With every new training instructor we have, they offer something new from their personal experiences we can take away from the training, honing our skills as individuals.”
Whether wrapping up training or patients, the medical group personnel put maximal effort into providing the best care for all at a moment’s notice, and being ready for whatever is thrown at them.
“I think my job is rewarding,” Blunt said. “Not only do I get to affect the lives of the Airmen I train, but also the patients they care for.”