FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Airmen from Team Fairchild’s 92nd Air Refueling Squadron, 93rd ARS, 384th ARS, 97th ARS and 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, conducted an aeromedical evacuation mission November 7-13, bringing patients in need of medical care from the Pacific back to the United States.
Fairchild Airmen worked alongside Wyoming Air National Guard Airmen from the 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 18th AES, traveling across the Pacific Ocean to Kadena Air Base in Japan.
“It takes a lot of coordination and communication,” said Tech. Sgt. Alex Klinger, 187th AES aeromedical evacuation technician. “Most of our [AE] units are pretty new to working with KC-135s, so working together is crucial, and communication is key.”
Aeromedical evacuation missions consist of critical care transport teams executing patient movement and care, using mobility aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules and KC-135.
“We normally operate out of our unit C-130 and work in C-17s,” Klinger said. “Working in the KC-135 is a great training opportunity for both crews to work together.”
Even though the primary mission of the KC-135 is extending Global Reach through air refueling, Stratotankers are capable of supporting a variety of missions including cargo delivery, AE, passenger delivery, serving as a communication platform and more.
"The tanker is built to refuel other aircraft, but we can also lift a considerable amount of cargo," said Capt. Chris Perry, 384th ARS KC-135 pilot. "We are one of the fastest heavy aircraft the Air Force has, and we have plenty of space to carry patients and other passengers as well."
Aeromedical evacuation is one of the most important and challenging missions for aircrew, and can take place at anytime, anywhere.
"Sometimes we have service members who are in need of urgent medical care they may not have access to," Perry said. "As a KC-135 unit, our responsibility is to be a stable platform they can rely on. We have to be on time, to make sure the medical team is able to get what they need and ensure the successful transportation of patients."
Upon completion of this AE mission, Team Fairchild was able to ensure the safety and care of 18 patients and their families, while delivering over 2,000 pounds of cargo to additional units across the Pacific.
“It is really awesome to be able to go somewhere and give people help that they otherwise would not be able to receive," Perry said. "It’s a different kind of mission to go and save lives, and being a part of that has definitely been rewarding."
By working with Pacific Air Force and Total Force partners from the 187th AES and 18th AES, Team Fairchild Airmen were able to ensure a continued investment in a high quality of life and medical service for Airmen and joint partners in the Pacific.