U.S. Airmen share medevac capabilities with JASDF
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Taking care of your own--it is a responsibility maintained culturally by the U.S. Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. One way Airmen take care their own is through medical health care.
The 459th Airlift Squadron, from Yokota Air Base, Japan, flew to Kadena Air Base Tuesday and Wednesday to showcase their C-12 medical evacuation capabilities to a JASDF medical team while practicing the relatively new capability with the 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
"Aeromedical evacuation is an integral part of the Air Force's mobility mission," said Capt. Thomas Powell, 459 AS C-12 pilot. "The ability to fly patients throughout the Pacific ensures them the best care available and gets them where they need to be in the shortest amount of time possible."
Powell added that the JASDF witnessing the training was a great way to standardize aeromedical evacuations in the Pacific. He said training with aeromedical teams also lends to improving medevac capabilities.
"It is an excellent opportunity to engage with other flight crew members ... it expands our mission set and makes us a much more capable aircraft throughout the Pacific," Powell said.
The lead of the JASDF medical team, Col. Tetsuya Tsujimoto, Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron commander, said it was a great experience to see the training first-hand. Attending the medevac flights in person, seeing it with their own eyes and having the ability to ask questions was significant to the JASDF team. Tsujimoto and other members of the JASDF AEMS will attend Cope North 2015.
"We are going to participate in aeromedical missions and patient transport on C-12s," Tsujimoto said, referring to Cope North. "We did not have any past experience with or knowledge about C-12 medevac, so we reached out to our U.S. counterparts."
Future improvements were annotated and discussions were held between members of the three organizations. Tsujimoto said he learned a lot by joining the 459 AS during the medevac training. He pointed out significant differences to keep in mind during future joint U.S.-JASDF medical training. Legal differences between the two countries make it important for each side to be cognizant of the types of medical equipment, medicine and the actual use of those medicines on patients.
"By recognizing these differences and focusing on the positive functions we have to offer each other, we will continue to build on our mutual cooperation," Tsujimoto said. "More than anything, we learned what we had never experienced before. It was a rare opportunity and a great experience in our career."
Whether it is U.S. service members, JASDF, or both, the training ensured capable hands are prepared to save lives when called upon.
"With the C-12 and the full spectrum hospital bed in the back, we will be able to haul non-ambulatory patients to Kadena where they can then be taken to Hawaii, in a much more economical manner and also more quickly than with traditional platforms," Powell said. "To be the guy that is able to fly and enable that to happen is really a special thing and it is an excellent mission to be a part of."