93rd ARS shows international partners chemical contamination response

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dustin Mullen
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Members of Team Fairchild’s 93rd Air Refueling Squadron participated in an aeromedical evacuation and chemical contamination scenario as part of Air Mobility Command’s Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019.

The exercise scenario was also used as a learning opportunity for personnel from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It offered everyone the opportunity to train like we fight, while enhancing the vital partnerships we rely on to accomplish the mission.

“This was the most realistic scenario I have been through,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Parsons, 93rd ARS commander and KC-135 Stratotanker pilot. “Once a year, as aircrew, we have a class on [decontamination procedures]. Step by step, they take you through and do progressive decontamination for your equipment and clothes.”

Before the KC-135 mission took place, the aircrew suited-up in an Aircrew Eye and Respiratory Protection System, or AERPS. The pilots then performed preflight checks in AERPS gear, taking the opportunity to add to the situation and maximize training efforts.

The exercise scenario then officially started with an aeromedical evacuation.

Medics diagnosed and loaded simulated patients onto a KC-135 for evacuation to a location where they could receive higher-level care. The crew was given a complication to deal with while in-transit over central Washington …a patient began to experience simulated symptoms of a chemical exposure that prompted an immediate crew response.

“At that point, the whole [aeromedical evacuation] team had to get their [Mission Oriented Protective Posture] gear on,” Parsons said. “We had to call back to command and control to tell them we were bringing back patients who were potentially contaminated, and a call was made back to Fairchild AFB to prepare the Aircrew Flight Equipment team, who brought the [Aircrew Contamination Control Area].”

Aircrew Contamination Control Area is a mobile decontamination system used for aircrew and passengers. Once the KC-135 crew landed, an AFE crew set-up a decontamination area and ran through the process with the aircrew.

“The most important thing is you need to be prepared for the day it happens,” Parson said. “You need to practice on a pretty regular basis as it’s easy to lose the skills it takes. A minor misstep can cause some major problems. One person who is inadvertently contaminated could potentially be a life lost, which could have been prevented with training.”

“This was also a FVEY demonstration,” Parsons said. “The aircrew did a preflight in the chemical gear just to show our partners what it is like. They got the opportunity to check out the gear and ask any questions about it.”

 The exercise gave Airmen from the 93rd ARS, aeromedical evacuation teams and aircrew flight equipment Airmen from all over the world the chance to immerse themselves in valuable training to strengthen their readiness and effectiveness.